Washington Monthly’s ranking rank Texas A&M 3rd, higher than Harvard, Princeton and Stanford. These rankings are based on different criteria than the more-followed rankings by US News and World Report. Houston Chronicle, September 15, 2013 A1 http://bit.ly/1dgRl1M
I am struck by two different thoughts.
1. Is “opinion” “information”? Certainly, opinion has value, both to the person giving it and to the person(s) receiving it. The universities, professors, students, prospective students, and parents all care, and depending on the source, the opinion can influence behavior. On the one hand the opinion is neither right nor wrong; it just is. On the other hand, that someone has a certain opinion is a fact, and that fact (when coupled with the source) is information. So, it’s admissible, but its weight is a matter for argument.
2. Here is KM in action, with the Learning Before step from one model and Collecting (and perhaps Connecting) from another. People are trying to chose schools and are trying to find out which is the “best” for their child. Does a school’s reputation increase the education delivered to (and hopefully received by) the student, or improve a graduate’s job prospects, or both? What metrics do the people look at to make the decision? Physical plant? How many articles a professor has published? What recent graduates have done? What’s the experience like? Does higher cost equal higher value? Does US News and World Report have better “opinion” than Washington Monthly? Are there other experts and consultants to guide (and charge) you? Seems like an industry with ivy-walled cottages.
The process starts with collecting information up front from reputable sources and using that, balanced with your life experience, to make a decision. The better the information collected and the better your experience and judgment, the better the decision. Right? Is KM anything more than just following that process? If so, what?