What Some Deem Frivolous Research Sometimes Turns Out to be Extremely Important

by Thomas M. Walski, (A.M.ASCE), U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS 39180,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1982, Vol. 52, Issue 8, Pg. 60-60

Document Type: Feature article


The essay, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, in Civil Engineering�ASCE, December 1981, contends that many academic and research papers published in journals are irrelevant to the needs of the Society's practitioner majority. He says in many cases if you translate such papers into everyday English it becomes apparent they are of marginal or no value. In rebuttal, another ASCE member writes that he, too, often believes journal papers are nonsense on first reading; but when he digs deeper, he learns the meaning of words and concepts he didn't understand, often it turns out (sometimes after several years have elapsed) that academics' papers are highly valuable to those in practice. Commentary by CE's editor is included.

Subject Headings: Colleges and universities | Professional societies

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