UFO Conjectures

Sunday, October 23, 2016

UFO research: Is there such a thing?

The Fourth Edition of The Craft of Research, Edited currently by Joseph Bizup and William T. Fitzgerald, updating Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams [The University of Chicago Press, 2016], the premier, academic work on what is research and how to do it, correctly, is my reading material of late.

I’ve always been curious as to why or how some UFO buffs assume the mantle of researcher when it is palpably obvious they are nothing of the sort.

(I, myself, am a miserable UFO “theorist” and I have no illusions that I am to be taken seriously by the UFO hoi polloi.)

So, let me see if I can discern for you, using the book cited above, why some ufologists are not “researchers” and why a few can be said to be so….

My pal Kevin Randle has assumed the mantle of UFO researcher for many years now and current UFO buffs can see, by reading his Blog postings [kevinrandle.blogspot.com] that he continues to dig out and ruminate on UFO sightings/events, past and present.

Kevin details his findings, findings not superficial or cursory, as one can find examples of in his latest Roswell book, pictured here:
Complimenting Kevin, surprisingly, is David Rudiak who provides surfeits of information about iconic UFO cases, such as Roswell and Socorro, and dozens of others.
No one, and I mean no one, gives UFO aficionados more details, some so esoteric but important, that they offer ufologists minutiae that completes UFO stories in ways that can only be classified as UFO data that means something.

(The book cited above about research tells readers that such data is the gist of real research, and Rudiak’s efforts exemplify that dictum.)

The problem with David’s research, if there is a problem, lies in his extraterrestrial bias. He sees the working of alien beings everywhere. He may be on to something but that’s not objective and objectivity is the hallmark of any research or researcher.

Bruce Maccabee is an exceptional technical researcher, one of ufology's finest.
And as an objective researcher, as I see it, he has delineated obscure details is such cases (photos mostly) as the Trent/McMinnville flying saucer pictures and the Phoenix lights to name only a few.

Then there is arch-skeptic Robert Sheaffer who nails errant or ridiculous claims by some UFO witnesses, even debunking debunkers like those of the Kenneth Arnold “pelican” theory (Jim Easton’s insightful theory that Arnold saw a flock of pelicans and not a bevy of flying saucers, which UFO historian, and not a researcher Jerome Clark castigated calling those who thought the pelican idea worthy of consideration "pelicanists," like my astute friend, Martin Kottmeyer).

Mr. Sheaffer is one tough skeptical cookie, and an excellent researcher on the averse side of ET oriented ufology.
Nick Redfern is a journalist and his research is highlighted by detailed reportage and searches for that which underlies stories about UFOs and other paranormal categories.
There is no finer a writer or gatherer of “facts” about the strange, and his vast output of books on paranormal topics (UFOs being my favorite) stand alone.

I’ve mentioned Martin Kottmeyer and note Leslie Kean who has researched the military aspect of UFO sightings.
This journalist is noteworthy, not only for her excellently detailed research, but also for her moderation and objectivity which is unparalleled in news media.

Brit David Clarke is an example of a Ph.D. (folklore) researcher who has extrapolated his knowledge of mythology and fairy tales to help explain UFO reports and stories.
He seems to be, for many, a skeptic but I see him as anything but. His observations are acute and often spot on, not derailing the authenticity of UFOs but rather clarifying them with insight that is unique and academic.

There are others, which I’ll touch on upcoming.

But let me note that some UFO mavens, who think they are researchers, are not. These are the folks who scour blogs and web-sites throwing in internet links to support or defile things they are reading.

This isn’t research, not by a long-shot. It’s just a supercilious attempt to seem UFO savvy.

I won’t name some of the miscreants, as that would only feed their egotistical folly, but you know who they are and can ignore their links and input as essentially worthless.

To know what research is or meant to be, get the book I've tagged above.



  • A mention of arm-chair researchers was made at Anomalist, where this posting was high-lighted.

    I know that arm-chair researching has been chastised all over the place (even by me I think), but The Craft of Research book I touted here -- a classic manual for researchers (young and old) gives credence to "arm-chair " research, allowing internet and online research as a viable way to actually do research.

    I've often excoriated commentary here that derives from internet insertions (and do it in the post above).

    But one can cull much that is valuable from materials online, if they confirm that the material derives from a credible source.

    So, you sluggards, who eschew books, and on-site scouring for research support, have at it.

    You are not condemned by academia, even though I dislike links and comments from sources unproven to be valid.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, October 25, 2016  

  • The key is to be led by the evidence, not by belief and to critically evaluate that evidence with the tools of science and other disciplines. Too much of what allegedly passes for "UFO research" or "popular ufology" is sadly short on real research. Another good contribution is Fred Leavitt's "Evaluating Scientific Research - SEperating Fact from fiction". Scientific method builds on common sense, of which a lot more is needed in "ufology".

    By Blogger Bill Chalker, at Tuesday, October 25, 2016  

  • Bill:

    The Craft of Research is not a strict, even though it is the primary reference work for research at The University of Chicago and other centers of academia.

    Of course there has to be a scientific element of objectivity, and I've always implored the need for intellectual scrutiny, but there are kinds of research, as the book outlines, and those cited by me are in the ball park of research methodology, as are you.

    Putting too many strictures on personal research stifles the findings of the kinds that those noted have procured.

    The problem, as I see it, is how data ((information) is construed, David Rudiak, for example putting an ET patina on his discoveries.

    Few, if any, in ufology are absolute, dedicated researchers, often flitting from case to case without finalizing any of them.

    This is the situation with the Socorro event, and its symbol or matters of what the ground residue consisted of.

    No one pursued the issues seriously back in 1964 -- Ray Stanford among them -- and no one wanting to pursue them today, saying the 1964 sighting is old and hoary, passé.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, October 25, 2016  

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