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NRC ranking, US News ranking, or TRIP ranking?


goodluck
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Just a pointer about the NRC rankings (obvioulsy they can still be the best) but if you read the asseessment made by the sociology department at UNC then they say:

Proposal 1: UNC Sociology prides itself on careful methods for accurate

assessment. The NRC’s decisions about how to measure

productivity and quality create an unwarranted bias toward

one part of our discipline and against others. Furthermore,

we have concerns about the quality of the data collected.

We therefore cannot endorse the methods or data behind the

sociology rankings, and we encourage potential students and

administrations to avoid making decisions based on these

rankings

You can read it here: http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu/stuff/nrc-slides.pdf

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So, I think "holistic" rankings are sort of silly, given that they involve weighting different criteria that you may weight differently when you're making decisions. I like reputation rankings because they tell me something tangible; for instance, with the THE world university rankings, their main ranking relies on things like some measure of teaching quality (which I'm skeptical of), but their reputation ranking is very straightforward and clear. So if you look at NRC rankings, I'd look more at the specific data on different factors than the overall rankings. TRIPs and US News are both strictly reputational, although they use different samples, and I think they both accord fairly well with impressions of the schools by people in the field or subfield. The US News rankings seem to be the most highly correlated with selectivity, average student quality, placement, etc. (though still imperfectly) so they are the rankings I consider the most useful, but at some point, you have to use some level of discretion.

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I take them all with a grain of salt. In the end though, I like what I saw another poster say (I believe it was a TT professor). S/he said that if you have to ask if a school is top 25 in its field, it's likely not.

"Finally, I have made a big point about top 25 schools. We all know that Stanford is and Purdue isn't, but what's the definitive list? Simply put, if you have to ask, your school is not in the top 25. And of course subfield matters more than overall ranking. Emory is not a top-25 theory department so think long and hard about going there for theory. JHU is not a top-25 American politics department but it's a different story altogether for political theory. If you need to convince yourself that your program is a top-25 program, it's almost certainly not."

As someone who's interested in IR, you know that the research interest vary widely. So there are some to 20 schools that offer few faculty who research global governance (my topic of interest). That's what makes rankings hard for IR people. They may say that School X is great in IR, but most of the IR faculty are war researching realists, while I may be a civil society researching constructivist.

Anyway, back to your original question, I use them all, I guess. I use a combination of them to a "consistently close to the top" list.

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