ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montréal, Québec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

Uncovering Epistemological Assumptions underlying Research in Information Studies

Steve Fuller, University of Warwick
Birger Hjørland, University of Copenhagen
Fidelia Ibekwe-SanJuan, University of Lyon 3
Lai Ma, University College Dublin
Jens Erik Mai, University of Copenhagen
Joseph Tennis, University of Washington
Julian Warner, Queen’s University of Belfast

Tuesday, 8:30am


Over the years, some library and information science (LIS) researchers have called for practical or applied research that does not ignore the epistemological assumptions underlying the systems and artifacts they design lest they showcase only the dominant theory at a given time. Others have deplored what they consider the epistemological promiscuity of the field and the fact that the field has largely neglected the contributions that philosophy and epistemology could have made in its research. This problem raises questions 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 (rationalism and positivism, for instance). Gathering a wide array of acknowledged theorists in philosophy of science and epistemology, this panel will 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.