Research update and thanks

Christine Hine Christine.Hine at BTINTERNET.COM
Thu Jun 17 20:20:21 CDT 2004


Thanks for taking the time to reply. I do very much appreciate the time
and thought that many people have put into formulating their responses.
I'm interested in the list, as I explained previously, as part of
broader research into information and communication technologies in
contemporary science. The issue of gender arises in that context as a
significant one: if sciences are tending to move towards more electronic
communications, and if, for whatever reason, women in science are not
finding that a conducive forum, then I think that is a matter for
concern. You're right that a numerical analysis would indeed be
informative if one had the appropriate data. But right now I'm doing
qualitative research, grounded in people's experiences and
interpretations of what is going on.

I've invited people to respond to me privately for a number of reasons.
I honestly don't want to clog up your list with a lot of off-topic
messages. If members of the taxonomic community want to discuss these
issues here then that's great, but it's not for me to dictate. Another
important reason is that I'm asking people to tell me about their
experiences, and offering them a promise that I'll keep names and
identifying information confidential, as is routine in this kind of
research. A key reason that I haven't posted a digest of results so far
is that this is a research project which will involve me taking some
time to analyse the data, coding significant themes and making sure that
I don't simply go with my immediate hunches. I'm sorry, but that won't
be ready for some time. I promise it'll be made available to the list
when it's ready. Posting a digest of results in the meantime would be
pre-empting the analysis.

Hope this clarifies things, and thanks again for your response,


> Christine Hine <Christine.Hine at> wrote:
> >There are clearly a lot of women working in systematics, and indeed
> >subscribed to the list. But few seem to post messages. Why
> might this
> >be? Is it a problem?
> The relevant question is perhaps:  Are women in the field
> more or less likely to subscribe to TAXACOM, and are those
> who subscribe more or less likely to post?  I don't know the
> answer.  I also don't know that the question is even
> interesting or important.
> >Some people clearly spend a lot of time contributing to the
> list. What
> >motivates you?
> I have in the past contributed a lot.  I did so to teach
> myself and/or work through ideas.  And to build my network
> with colleagues I rarely/never meet in person (I usually
> cannot attend the summer professional meetings).
> >Apart from the public replies sent to the list, do messages generate
> >private email correspondence? Do many of you respond privately to
> >queries, rather than to the list?
> Yes, sometimes.
> >as before, direct to me and not to the list, to avoid
> clogging up the
> >list.
> TAXACOM is a discussion list, Christine, and so far you have
> not posted a digest of the replies sent to you directly.  So
> I prefer not to send my own contribution into your "black hole".
>         Una Smith
> Los Alamos National Laboratory, MS K-710, Los Alamos, NM  87545

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