Talk:Introduction to Research

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This page is still in progress - feel free to add, edit, clarify, etc. But I am also wondering if anyone reading this thinks it might be too narrow in focus? I make no bones about the area of research that I am most familiar with - educational/sociological research - but this makes me think that I may well have left out much about scientific research, for example. So, is this page really an introduction to research or is it an introduction to social research? Should we have many introductions to disciplines of research, or one introduction and then many links to various types of research projects, or research methodologies? I'm thinking we also need to have a research portal (Portal:Research) to collate material for people who are interested in finding out what research is, how it is done, and what they could do to get some personal feel for it. I'd very much welcome feedback on the larger issue of research within Wikiversity (see Wikiversity:Research), as well as this page itself. Thanks. Cormaggio 20:23, 2 November 2006 (UTC)


I like the idea of having Portal:Research.

It is very rare for anyone to try to make a broad and general description of research. We live in an age of specialization and nobody can be an expert in all of the disciplines that make use of research. Each specialized domain of research has its own specialized research methods and traditions. Even the Wikipedia article on research is biased and describes a very narrow view of research. For example, the Wikipedia article does not mention the role of literature reviews in research and does not even link to Meta-analysis as a research method. The Wikipedia article for Literature review is just a stub and does not even link back to the Wikipedia article on research. The Wikipedia article on research has only one reference. I think that the family of Wikimedia Foundation projects has a "blind spot" that arises from the "No Original Research" policy. Wikiversity has an opportunity to become a Wikimedia Foundation project that is open to original research. Personally, I am interested in exploration of ways to make research activities an integral part of many educational activities at Wikiversity.

There are some good reasons for Wikiversity participants to try to create a broad and general description of research. First, I believe that an interest in research should be fostered in everyone who is a member of a democracy. People need a tool kit that allows them to recognize when ideas are supported by evidence rather than the product of propaganda mills. Critical assessment of existing knowledge is the fundamental first step in research, and everyone should be given experience in critical assessment of existing knowledge as part of their education. Our culture is characterized by a rapid rate of development of new ideas and technologies; in many cases this is facilitated by government funding. Everyone should understand the basics of how professional research is funded and integrated into society.

Second, Wikiversity participants are supposed to be creating a set of policies and guideline by which original research will be allowed as a component of Wikiversity. One proposal that has been made is that research policy for each academic discipline in every language, "should be left to the individual specialist areas as well as the individual language versions" (source). This idea is in contrast to the request by Board member Anthere, "..... guidelines should be developped, *in particular* with regards to collaborative research. We would hope that these guidelines are as much as possible developped on the beta site (in particular collaborative research), so that all languages share a common goal and a few common non negociable rules." (source). If we are going to have some project-wide guidelines for research activities, we would benefit from having a clear description of what research is in the broadest sense and a staement of what aspects of research should be viewed as the project's priorities for integration with Wikiversity's educational mission.
--JWSchmidt 00:29, 3 November 2006 (UTC)


In very rough terms, research in mathematics consists of posing problems, solving them and posing more problems. The difference between a good mathematicist and a bad mathematicist is how coherent (and deep, general, useful, etc) a theory one creates out of all that. Two deep problems today are Riemann's hypothesis and Langlands' programme. In theoretical physics, the outstanding problem is the construction of quantum field theory with gravity.--Hillgentleman 06:32, 7 November 2006 (UTC)