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Creativity and convergence in information science research: the roles of objectivity and subjectivity, constraint and control

Ford, N. (2004) Creativity and convergence in information science research: the roles of objectivity and subjectivity, constraint and control. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55 (13). pp. 1169-1182.

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Objectivity, in the form of the application of external scrutiny according to standards agreed within a research community, is an essential characteristic of information science research whether pursued from positivist, interpretative, or action research perspectives. Subjectivity may represent both a legitimate focus of research (e.g., people's perceptions and attitudes) and a legitimate component of methodology (e.g., enabling researchers to enter, experience, and share the perceived worlds of their subjects). However, subjectivity that both (a) is not open to external scrutiny and (b) gives rise to contingent dependencies is problematic for research. The issue of problematic types of subjectivity is considered, and the contributions to the debate concerning possible solutions of two key thinkers - the cybernetician Gordon Pask and the methodological philosopher Brenda Dervin - are discussed. The need identified by Dervin for researchers to be able to escape (expose and test) their own assumptions is explored in terms of a dynamic interplay between relatively subjective and objective forces, each requiring the liberating and constraining energies of the other. The extent to which meta-methodological awareness - a prerequisite for any such escape - can be fostered, for example, by the quality of research environments, is explored along with implications for those responsible for managing and funding research.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Information Studies
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2009 15:15
Last Modified: 13 May 2009 15:43
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.20073
Status: Published
Publisher: Wiley
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1002/asi.20073
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8073

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