Uncovering epistemological assumptions underlying research in information studies

Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 50 (1):1-4 (2013)
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There have been several calls from LIS researchers for practical or applied research not to ignore the epistemological assumptions underlying the systems and artifacts they design lest they showcase only the dominant theory at a given time. Others have also deplored the "epistemological promiscuity" or "eclecticism" of the field, its incessant borrowing of theories and models from elsewhere and the fact that the field has largely neglected the contributions that philosophy and epistemology could have made in its research. This problem raises that of the boundaries of LIS and is all the more troublesome because boundaries between epistemological theories are fuzzy. Indeed, some epistemological theories share the same basic assumptions or are historically derived from one another. Gathering a wide array of acknowledged theorists in philosophy of science and epistemology, this panel aims to examine how research work in the LIS field can clearly articulate the epistemological assumptions underlying that research and under what constraints this can be achieved. The topic is of prime importance to Information studies as a whole and to ASIST as the scientific flag bearer of information scientists worldwide.

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Birger Hjørland
University of Copenhagen

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