Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines

By Paul R. Trowler; Tony Becher | Go to book overview

Appendix:
Data for the Initial Study

Subject coverage

This enquiry is based both on a scrutiny of the relevant research literature (see Bibliography) and on the material derived from interviews with practising academics in a dozen disciplines. The discussion that follows concentrates on the latter. In alphabetical order (with numbers in parentheses of those contributing) the disciplines covered are:

Biology: botany and zoology (27)*Mechanical engineering (22)*
Chemistry (15)Modern languages: French,
Economics (13)German, Spanish, Italian
Geography (12)(12)
History (22)*Pharmacy (16)
Law (24)*Physics (23)*
Mathematics (13)Sociology (22)*

The asterisks indicate the subjects which provided the central body of data; those without asterisks were tackled in less depth, and could in that sense be classified as subsidiary. Altogether I conducted 221 interviews across the 12 disciplines. The shortest lasted half an hour and the longest nearly 2 hours. The average length was somewhere between an hour and an hour and a quarter.


Methods of data collection

The interviews were of a type characterized in the social sciences as semi-structured and in-depth. The first term means that the interviewer has a general checklist of points to be raised, but allows the respondent’s interests and the resulting shape of the discussion to dictate the order and form in which these points are introduced. The second implies that the duration of the interview should be extensive enough and the degree of rapport strong enough for respondents to discuss complex and perhaps sensitive issues if they are so inclined.

A particular variant on standard interviewing techniques was adopted. Because the emphasis was on exploring as many aspects of disciplinary communities as

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Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the First Edition ix
  • Preface to the Second Edition xiii
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • 1 - Landscapes, Tribal Territories and Academic Cultures 1
  • 2 - Points of Departure 23
  • 3 - Academic Disciplines 41
  • 4 - Overlaps, Boundaries and Specialisms 58
  • 5 - Aspects of Community Life 75
  • 6 - Patterns of Communication 104
  • 7 - Academic Careers 131
  • 8 - The Wider Context 159
  • 9 - Implications for Theory and Practice 181
  • Appendix- Data for the Initial Study 208
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 236
  • The Society for Research into Higher Education 239
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