ERIC Number: ED319329
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr-16
Disciplinary Differences in Faculty Conformity to the Norms of Science: Are Norms Compensatory Integrating Mechanisms for Professional Fragmentation?
Coopersmith, Georgia A.; Braxton, John M.
The norms of science define appropriate and inappropriate scholarly or research role performance. The four norms described in this study are (1) universalism: research is assessed on its merit, not particularistic criteria; (2) commonality: research must be made public and shared with the research community; (3) disinterestedness: research is conducted for the advancement of knowledge, not prestige or financial gain from the lay public; and (4) organized skepticism: research is subject to peer review and criticism. The Ladd and Lipset Survey measured the extent to which faculty in different disciplines reported how they act in accord with each of the four norms. Analysis of the survey's data show that, regardless of the disciplinary type, faculty generally agreed on the norm of disinterestedness in that it stems from the fundamental principle that the search for knowledge itself should direct scholarly activities. Faculty self-reports also indicated that they believe that adhering to the norm of communality is how they should behave regardless of disciplinary type. The norms of organized skepticism, however, were seen to not work well in disciplines characterized by weak or conflicting theoretical and methodological paradigms. Contains 33 references. (GLR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 16-20, 1990).