Each issue, we ask professors a question that we think might provide useful information to current students. This issue, we asked:
How do you continue to learn as a faculty member? Are there steps you take to stay current with contemporary issues, methods, or statistics (e.g., what do you read or what resources do you use)?
I like journal alerts (the automatic email of journals' tables of contents) and, lately, Twitter. One thing I enjoy about being a textbook writer is that the constant pressure to do a revision every three years motivates me to read in areas far from my own research.
DAVID FUNDER, University of California Riverside
I keep up by chatting with students and colleagues. I also attend weekly talks and scan abstracts in journals that are both closely related and not too closely related to my home disciplines. I read trade books on methods and statistics too, at times. Every few months I also get to dive into a literature when working on a paper, which allows me to really go deep and see what's been done since I last reviewed a body of work.
ETHAN KROSS, University of Michigan
I try (try being the operative word) to stay current on what’s being published in my field. I accept lots of reviews so that I can see what the newest work in the field looks like (even if it’s not ultimately publishable, I find it helpful to see what people are working on). I pay attention to new methodologies and stats techniques at conferences, and frequently follow up with speakers for more information. I also teach myself, or go to workshops to learn, new statistical techniques. It’s really important not to stagnate: it will negatively impact your research, and it simply gets boring.
ERICA SLOTTER Villanova University
It can be hard to keep up! I read journal articles (and have tables of contents of the major journals emailed to me so I’m reminded to scan them monthly). I pay attention to selected Twitter and social media feeds for social science news and blogs posts. I also periodically weed these out for time-wasters, because you CAN have too many. I try to soak up everything I can at conferences—not only what’s related to my areas of research but more generally what’s happening in the field. I collaborate with people who have complementary areas of expertise. I do find it challenging to keep up with rapid developments in methods and statistics—I have sat in on advanced graduate stats, but also learn a lot from my graduate students who are immersed in learning the newest techniques.
ANNE WILSON, Wilfrid Laurier University