The research en…

The research enterprise of a leading academic institution is a complex system of human, physical and digital infrastructures that functions to support the production of new knowledge and the advancement and training of research practitioners.

To me, this suggests that the part of a school which does research (it could feasibly be considered an enterprise, there is much money involved in research at institutes of higher learning) depends on three different factors in order to perform research of utmost quality.  The first is infrastructure in which to operate the experiment and catalyze the actions which is being studied.  This would fall under the physical realm, secondly is the means of calculating and retrieving data, a concept which has now been taken over by computers.  Computers are by no means perfect, but they can make calculations better than in previous methods.  The third is the human, who asks the questions which need to be answered and who performs the experiments and uses the data to reach a conclusion.

This leads to the creation of knowledge, because what is knowledge beyond an application of data into a sort of rule for the world?  The only way to create scientific knowledge is by all three processes working together in experimentation.  To work together, however, is difficult.  Often data gets lost and often experiments are not performed with the utmost care as to create data which accurately answers the question.  This is why the other two elements must be exposed, through education, to the one which is arguably the most necessary, that of the person who strives to find the answer to the question.

Hopefully this does the passage justice.

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1 Response to The research en…

  1. cyberprofgus says:

    Your second paragraph hits the head of the nail called “provenance” and highlights the growing concern in academia of reproducibility in research. There are always some wrong results (and you can be “wrong” in lots of ways) in the literature, but explicitly identifying the source of error is rarely possible, as the methods used are typically only explained by paragraphs of text, not lines of code.

    I love your existential question, “what is knowledge beyond an application of data into a sort of rule for the world?” Class, discuss!

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