The Knight section on Post-empirical research has finally shed some light on something that I have been wondering about since our first class! Coming from a literature background most of the research that I have done has been text-based. In the past I have worked with the general arrangement that I should form my argument based on the literature that already existed, and then determine the shortcomings of these conclusions as well as expand on the main points that I found believable. While I understand that this approach to research is not always effective, I do still believe that this sort of evaluation can be valuable.
In doing readings for my SSHRC application it became very clear that much has already been discussed on my subject (which is based around collection digitization and has been a hot topic for about a decade). I did not think that it was adequate to simply examine the existing literature and draw conclusions about what is and isn’t working in the field of digitization, so I developed a methodology that would involve interviews and surveys. While interviews with information professionals would certainly be beneficial to my research – after reading Knight’s thoughts on the matter I think that I will revise the survey section of my methods to include an area that looks more like a post-empirical study. The amount of literature on the topic of digitization is vast, but like in Knight’s example of undergraduate learning (110), it has never been connected in a cohesive manner, and that would be an important contribution to academia.
I found that Allen S. Lee’s paper on “Reviewing a manuscript for publication” really interesting, and think that this might be especially helpful while writing our peer reviews. The section on being explicit about your own area of expertise is obviously relevant as our own frame of reference skews our opinions, but it is not something that I generally would have considered including in an evaluation of an article. I have kind of been rambling a little bit, but overall I found the readings from this week really helpful. I know that some of us in this group have been struggling with text-based research, and I’m glad that maybe now we can all have a bit of a post-empirical party and stop being so intimidated by all the more “scientific” methods!