Academic Etiquette

Play the ball, not the player. Disagree properly.

This post was inspried by something I read at one of my favourite blogs about Academia, Goannatree – and something that the author, Anna, made mention of in one of her posts about ‘Commenting on Scholarly blogs’ – this is part of her brilliant series called ‘The Basics’ which I would highly recommend to any student regardless of where they are on their academic journey.
Play the ball, not the player!

This reminds me to challenge an idea, which is an inoffensive and necessary part of academia, and not to challenge the person, which can turn ugly and become highly offensive.

Academia is, by it’s very nature, sceptical and critical.  This is not a bad thing in and of itself.  However, I think that the measure of a good academic is how they can challenge an idea.  How they can challenge someone to think in a different way and how they can succinctly present a new and interesting arguement without making things personal.  Too often there is a motivation to personally attack someone because of an idea that they have proposed – this is not what academia is about.  Academia is about creating a safe forum in which ideas can be presented, countered, defended, deconstructed, a place of exploration and discovery. 

Disagreeing is fine, even encouraged, but please I beg of you, do so respectfully.  Play the ball (idea) not the player (proponent of the idea).


One thought on “Academic Etiquette

  1. […] the book and formulate your own thoughts.  I would also like to suggest checking out my post on ‘Academic Etiquette’.  I am challenging one of Prof. English’s ideas, not him!  Therefore, this is just one of […]

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