Will a PhD make you better off? Not until 33 years later

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by tadj, Nov 23, 2023.

  1. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    PhDs can absolutely do these but I’d also argue an individual with a masters and industry experience can do this too. I am not a consultant but I teach (3) courses between (2) colleges. One pays $3,525/course and the community college pays $1,800/course. All in all, it is an extra ~$1,500/month in income.
    Dustin likes this.
  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Yes, the distinction being made by jonlevy was the hard sciences vs the social sciences, sometimes called the soft sciences.

    They're scientific fields with empirical methods and literature that sometimes traces its roots back to Socrates, but it's in vogue for conservatives to pretend they're not real so they can ignore their conclusions. (Like this, this, and this study that found conservatism to be linked to low intelligence.)
    Johann and Rich Douglas like this.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Social sciences are often dismissed by the natural science fields because of methodology. Qualitative methods are frowned upon by these people because they do not use population sampling.

    Quantitative methods, their preferred approach, are rigid. It's a world of hypothesis testing. But that's only as good as they hypotheses are informed, methods are employed, samples are truly representative, etc. Even if done well, they're just baby steps. They're good for the deductive approach.

    Qualitative methods, however, can tell rich, deep, informative stories useful to others. They can go where the data lead, often to unanticipated discoveries--ones that hypothesis testing might not get at. Thus, they're very good for the inductive approach. (The so-called "soft" sciences can also use quantitative methods--and often do.)

    Which approach is better? Neither. It depends on what you're studying, what you want to know, and what you want to do with that knowledge. Are qualitative, inductive methods less rigorous? I think so. Less reliable, too. But they often reveal deeper, more complex meanings in phenomena and can be quite useful in the acquisition of knowledge. And they can open up new pathways to explore deductively, too. How much neuroscience is rooted in philosophy? Or psychology?
    Dustin likes this.
  4. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    In my field, we use both qualitative and quantitative methods. The quant stuff is usually narrow, hard to read and understand, prone to data manipulation and often unreplicatable. The qualitative studies are based either on informed guesses, hunches, or tailored to fit the bias and thesis of the author. We also have subfields in this social science which are not sciences at all but arts. In intro to methodology, a standard question asked always is whether our field is a pseudocience or not. Given that this field failed to predict one of the greatest events of the last century and numerous other events since, there is a strong argument for pseudoscience.
  5. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    Conservatives don't need to pretend that the showcased studies aren't real. They can simply refer to counterexamples, which show that there is no consensus position on the matter. I am not sure why you immediately accused conservatives of living in denial.

    "...a study of white South Africans in the 1980s...found that higher cognitive ability was correlated with support for traditional conservative religious and political views, which were socially normative in that time and place. Woodley argues that since the 1960s, post-materialist values have become normative among intellectuals in much of the Western world. Hence apparent associations between left-liberal views and intelligence may reflect currently prevailing Western values."

    "The findings illustrate a number of key points. Firstly, highly intelligent individuals may actually support right-wing views, not just left-wing ones, contrary to claims that support for right-wing positions reflects a lack of intellectual sophistication. It seems fair to say then that not only liberals but conservatives (and those with other positions, such as libertarians) can have intellectually sophisticated reasons for their political views."

    "...the relationship between intelligence and political attitudes is most likely not fixed in some simple way, but probably changes across time and context."

    Link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/unique-everybody-else/201305/intelligence-and-politics-have-complex-relationship
  6. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Keeping this brief because we're outside the political forum but it tends to be conservatives who deride the social sciences, and there are lots of examples of denial (climate change, vaccine efficacy, the US 2020 election, etc.) While I'm sure there are counterexamples, this one seems particularly weak: a survey of 100 white college students in 1980s South Africa (which was still actively practicing apartheid) is not a very generalizable sample. College students being conservative in a society where conservatism was the norm and few students went to college at all doesn't say much.
    Suss likes this.
  7. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    Remember that study? https://unherd.com/thepost/the-most-vaccine-hesitant-education-group-of-all-phds/

    I wasn't endorsing the particular study from South Africa nor the idea that higher cognitive ability is correlated (en masse) with support for conservative political or religious views. At this point, I am quite satisfied to leave it at the point where the cited article author left it: "...the relationship between intelligence and political attitudes is most likely not fixed in some simple way, but probably changes across time and context."
  8. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I always enjoy your comments, @Dustin, but I think discussing intelligence levels of conservatives and liberals should be on that part of the forum I avoid where politics are discussed. This type of comment will certainly derail the entire thread into a political nightmare for folks like me who play Switzerland on political discussions. While I know there is no malicious intent on your part, others will run away with your comment.
    Dustin likes this.
  9. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Wise counsel. Me and tadj both made our points, we should return to the topic at hand.

    It would be interesting to understand how these authors determining the return of investment on a PhD, or more specifically to ask how they are getting to the "investment" part of the equation.

    Although PhDs are often funded, only those who enter them directly from the bachelor's degree benefit from funding for the entire length of the program. With master's degrees getting increasingly expensive, it's possible for someone to enter a funded PhD with as much as $100,000 in student loan debt from their undergrad and master's degrees. That makes earning the PhD (where they are basically breaking even with their stipend and deferring their loans for 4+ years) a much different animal than someone who has say, $30,000 in student loan debt and then pursues that same PhD.
  10. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    I'll interrupt this discussion to say the South African students and Conservative intellect examples are why positionality is important to consider as a part of undertaking any research today, especially if a goal is to reduce bias. Without taking positionality into account, both studies can be savagely torn apart.

    The researcher(s) should ask themselves (and answer) who they are, especially relative to the subjects of their study, and what is it about their subjects that makes them attractive for this research. They should also ask and answer why they are conducting this particular research and what they hope to contribute to knowledge thereby.

    (Now, back to our original discussion.)
  11. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking lately about how I'd like to use my own PhD. I'm not actually the only doctorate holder at my firm of about 60 people. Our Chief Strategy Officer has an EdD in Educational Leadership and one of our senior consultants has a PhD in Technical Communication.

    I think that as a consultant, holding the PhD provides clients with a certain level of confidence alongside other credentials in this area, especially if I can write my dissertation on a relevant topic.

    As a PhD holder I'd also feel comfortable conducting internal research, especially when combined with the programming background my master's gave me.
  12. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    (Whoops. Wrote the above while serving dinner. Of course I don't have a PhD yet, even though I wrote that in the present tense.)
    Maniac Craniac and JoshD like this.
  13. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    You’re just manifesting it. ;)
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  14. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well, if you agree with Einstein and the Block Universe theory you have your PhD somewhere in the Universe! Or...not...
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Any study of ROI that lumps all doctorates together and all circumstances together and comes up with a single answer is utterly and gratuitously useless. As with all of these things, the answer starts with "Well, it depends..."
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Oh, no. All Ph.D.s are equally pointless and, worse, elitist. Experts? What do we need experts for? They're all libtards anyway.
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I get all my news from Tucker Carlson. Why do you ask?
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Why do I ask? From your penultimate remark, I thought perhaps Tucker got all his news from you. :)
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yep. Nosborne and Tucker. One Meantone and t'other Mean Tone. :)

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