Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me: Taylor Swift, Tenure, and Scholarly Research.

photo of taylor swift

We laugh, but only to stop from sobbing.

On a recent NPR game show, a Taylor Swift joke pokes fun at a common research mistake: anecdotal evidence being thought of as somehow meaningful and generalizable information. This shows up a lot on Q&A sites such as WikiHow or Answers.com, sites that commonly come up near the top of a Google search. People often use their own experience or information gathered from one or two people and then generalize it to an entire population. While it is less common for this type of faulty reasoning to come from a professor, we all make mistakes…

PESCA: Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: Dads don’t want a Norm Mailer gift, nor oars from some old sailor’s shift. On this Dada’s Day-Day, give albums by Tay-Tay ’cause fathers sure love…

BROWN: Taylor Swift?


KURTIS: Taylor Swift. You are smart.


PESCA: Taylor Swift, indeed.

KURTIS: Very good.

PESCA: Thirteen-year-old girls aren’t the only ones who love Taylor Swift. According to John Covach at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Pop Music, Taylor is a big hit with dads too. Covach knows this because he interviewed a real dad – John Covach.


PESCA: When asked to assess the scholarship in question, John Covach’s employer, the University of Rochester, said (singing):

                  You are never, ever, ever getting back your tenure.

Now, despite a funny video of a Dad and Son lip syncing a song by Taylor Swift together, as far as I can determine no research study or poll has been conducted on whether fathers, in particular, seem to be especially fond of Taylor Swift. Or can someone out there prove otherwise? It’s always challenging to prove a negative.



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