Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Holistic Engagement by Loretta Plyes

Transformative social work education: the time is now

In the first week of March, hundreds of social work educators from across the US will come together in New Orleans to discuss the future of social work education at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD) conference. It is clear that the stakes for social work education are higher now than ever before. For my students who are working in field placements, there is a growing sense of dissonance.

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Replication in international relations

The integrity of science is threatened in many ways – by direct censorship; by commercial, political, or military secrecy; by various forms of publication bias; by exorbitant journal subscription fees that effectively deny access to the general public; by cheating and falsification of results; and by sloppiness in the research process or the editorial process prior to publication.

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Deconstructing pseudoscience

Can magicians (illusionists) really levitate themselves and others or bend spoons using only the power of their mind? No. Emphatically no. But they surely make it seem as if they can. Enjoy being fooled? Then you’ll love watching really good magic shows that allow people the opportunity to suspend their disbelief momentarily. But don’t let this suspension become permanent.

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On the economics of economists

We economists spend a lot of time writing about the job market. Can the unemployment rate drop any further? Will the number of unemployed people increase when the Fed starts to raise interest rates? And will wages begin to pick up if the unemployment rate does drop?To pursue these questions, economists construct theoretical models of the labor market, gather hiring and wage data from a variety of industries and regions.

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Reimagining equity in public schools

Fifteen years ago bipartisan support for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) served as a watershed moment in federal support for public education in the United States. The law emphasized standardized testing and consequences for states and schools that performed poorly. The law was particularly important because NCLB’s focus on accountability also meant that states and local school districts were required to report on the achievement of different groups of students by race, socio-economic background, and disability.

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Academy schools and the transformation of the English education system

Increasing the quality and quantity of an individual’s education is seen by many as a panacea to many social ills: stagnating wages, increases in inequality, and declines in technological progress might be countered by policies aimed at increasing the skills of those who are in danger of falling behind in the modern labour market.

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Helping students excel with integrity

On 19 October 2016 the International Center for Academic Integrity called for education institutions to join an International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. Using the hashtags #defeatthecheat and #excelwithintegrity, students and staff were invited to share their declarations of why ‘contract cheating’ (that is, paying someone to do your academic work) is wrong. The idea was to raise awareness – not just within institutions but in the public and legislative domains too.

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Writing for an academic audience

Completing multitudinous years of education presumably encourages people to juxtapose one esoteric word after another in order to fabricate convoluted paragraphs formulated of impressively, extensively elongated and erudite sentences. To put it another way: completing many years of education encourages people to write complex paragraphs full of long sentences composed of long words.

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How to write a good sentence

Some years ago, I sent off a manuscript to an editor. After the usual period of review, the editor sent back a note saying that he liked the work, but suggested that I should make it “less academic.” I reworked a number of things and sent back a revised version with more examples and a lighter tone. A week later, I got a short email back saying “No really, make it less academic.”

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The Universities UK taskforce: one year on

It is now a year since it was announced that Universities UK would be establishing a taskforce on the problem of sexual violence in higher education. At its first meeting it widened its remit to also include the (much) broader issue of hate crime affecting students, but promised to maintain a particular focus on violence against women and sexual harassment. The taskforce intended to consider the current evidence, any ongoing work, and what more needs to be done.

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Discussing Open Access in action

The 24 October marks the beginning of International Open Access Week 2016. This year, the theme is “Open in Action” which attempts to encourage all stakeholders to take further steps to make their work more openly available and encourages others to do the same. In celebration of this event, we asked some of our Journal Editors to discuss their commitments to Open Access (OA).

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How university students infantilise themselves

Like their forebears in the 1960s, today’s students blasted university leaders as slick mouthpieces who cared more about their reputations than about the people in their charge. But unlike their predecessors, these protesters demand more administrative control over university affairs, not less. That’s a childlike position. It’s time for them to take control of their future, instead of waiting for administrators to shape it.

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The University: past, present, … and future?

By nearly all accounts, higher education has in recent years been lurching towards a period of creative destruction. Presumed job prospects and state budgetary battles pit the STEM disciplines against the humanities in much of our popular and political discourse. On many fronts, the future of the university, at least in its recognizable form as a veritable institution of knowledge, has been cast into doubt.

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Will print die?: When the inevitable isn’t

Mark Twain is reputed to have quipped, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Such hyperbole aptly applies to predictions that digital reading will soon triumph over print.
In late 2012, Ben Horowitz (co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital) declared, “Babies born today will probably never read anything in print.” Now four years on, the plausibility of his forecast has already faded.

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Is elementary school mathematics “real” mathematics?

When people think of elementary school mathematics, they usually bring to mind number facts, calculations, and algorithms. This isn’t surprising, as these topics tend to dominate classroom work in many elementary schools internationally. There is little doubt that elementary students should know the multiplication tables, be able to do simple calculations mentally, develop fluency in using algorithms to carry out more complex calculations

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How to write a grant proposal

Whatever its scale or ambition, a grant proposal aims to do two things: to show that a particular project needs to be supported by a funder and to show why some individual, group or organization is the right one—the best one—to carry out the project. Showing the “need” is largely an exercise in argumentative writing. It’s argumentative not in the hostile, red-faced, fist-shaking sense but in the classical sense of establishing a claim

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