Here's an example from near the end of his latest email that offers a failed opportunity to take up the subject of poverty in a way that would lay down a challenge to researchers and academics:
I am suggesting that, based on our mission, we must not simply produce high-quality research with various theoretical frames and methodologies. We must engage directly with policy makers and local communities, and we must take part in thoughtful dialogue with people who disagree with us. . .Here Tierney offers us a classic false dichotomy of either doing rigorous research that upholds some element of the theoretical and/or methodological canon, or become an activist along with the local community organizers. Tierney misses the opportunity to suggest that researchers may, indeed, do rigorous research without divorcing it from the concerns and needs of the oppressed and non-privileged.
So here, then, is a short list of questions that could become research questions for any doctoral student looking to do solid, non-ideological research that could have some relevance in improving people's lives and the quality of our struggling democracy: