Updated: 12/27/05; 7:50:46 AM.
Connectivity: Spike Hall's RU Weblog
News, clips, comments on knowledge, knowledge-making, education, weblogging, philosophy, systems and ecology.

 Monday, December 15, 2003

Summary: Research (aka knowledge-making in my weblog), that is on other than the personal-and-tacit level, eventually requires that findings and methods be published. Publication allows potential users to determine, first, the credibility of the research results and, second, the applicability of research findings (generated in one context) for use in the other, broader perhaps simply different, contexts. When others accept that a research-based knoweledge claim has broader application [they checked]… then it can be said to be certified (or warranted). (More below on the publication in electronic journals and particularly on the use of weblogs and wikis in the research process).

Electronic Journals:

  • Charles W. Bailey gifts us with Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog and Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography.
  • There are standards for research publication. We now have access to the set of online journals as well as the methods and quality standards associated with online publication.

Weblogs and Wikis:

Resources have been assembled on the web for those interested in integrating such devices as weblogs and wikis into their research and publish sequence.

Perhaps, if you're setting out to do the research and, when the time comes, to publish (explaining and justifying your findings), you should structure your use of a weblog to support your research efforts. Use it to pave the way to more formal, journal-centered, electronic publication. If that's the case, you will probably get something from reading research weblogs. Two sources will give you access to quite a few weblogging researchers:

  • First, Jill Walker has compiled a weblog list of researchers who use their weblogs “as a part of their research practice”(list current as of 2/2003).

  • Second, Seb Paquet provides us with another List of other weblogging researchers (in the section immediately after the introductory paragraph).
Seb has dug deeper. For starters read the results of his “weblogs and knowledge-sharing” survey. If you want a longer read, I recommend Seb's PhD Thesis A Socio-Technological Approach To Sharing Knowledge Across Disciplines. Should you wish to publish and interact with other researchers, particularly in a knowledge field that is turning over rapidly and particularly if you are interested in collaborative knowledge construction.. you will probably be interested in Seb's analysis of open shared knowledge repositories (see Chapters 5 and 6 of his thesis: a wiki is an example). He differentiates two sorts of wikis, those which are rather open-ended and those those that leave no loose ends. Those with no loose ends are have a navigable synthesis ontology (acronym=NSO).

Because an NSO wiki has all foundation knowledge and definitions made explicit and accessible, much more time and thought will be required of the writer. In short, the developmental curve for the writer(s) is steep. The learning curve for the reader is also steep; however, the NSO wiki has fewer loose ends, fewer unanswered questions and will be ultimately more productive. For many the higher productivity will be more deeply satisfying.

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Spike Hall is an Emeritus Professor of Education and Special Education at Drake University. He teaches most of his classes online. He writes in Des Moines, Iowa.


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