From Beth Samuelson on October 28th, 2018
Once scholars have acknowledged the lineage of ideas on a particular topic, they zoom in on a established academic’s work (or body of work) that is compelling personally and significant to the discipline. In a lot of ways, it is similar to the inventive process
Through what can be a lengthy process of understanding, analyzing, and synthesizing the established academic’s ideas, scholars further the development of the information ecosystem in several ways.
The most common way is to articulate a theoretical, conceptual, or methodological gap in previous research. Naming or filling in a missing piece is a way to interact with the work of established scholars in the information ecosystem and is not necessarily framed as an oversight or error.
Another way academics challenge the work of academics in their field is to take an authoritative idea, concept, or tool, and apply it to something seemingly unrelated, that was never considered or intended by the established scholar. In the information ecosystem, this is another way to extend established scholars’ footprints (and often impact) in related or entirely separate field.
Finally, scholars can also challenge the work of established academics to correct an outdated work. In the information ecosystem, this moves scholarly conversations forward, but with a new, or more informed perspective.
In all of these approaches, you are positioned best to enter and thrive in the information ecosystem when you fully understand what is being expressed by existing academics. This process of understanding may involve reading multiple sources by the established academic and others who have contributed to the conversation; it may involve attending seminars, workshops, and presentations given by the authoritative academics; and it may involve interviewing them. Seeking accurate and reliable information in this way is vital to a healthy, thriving information ecosystem as well as to a successful career inside or outside of the academy.
As a scholar, what ways do you interact with and contribute to the information ecosystem?
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