Empirical research in knowledge organization
Empirical research should not be confused with research based on the empiricist/positivist ideals of science.
Fugmann (1999) provides a criticism of the empiricist approach to knowledge organization.
"The comparative evaluation of different
mechanized information systems continues to constitute a controversial topic in
the literature. Diametrically different opinions, seemingly corroborated through
empirical evidence, have been presented since the time of the Cranfield
experiments. Similar situations have often been encountered in the history of
science if reasoning has exclusively been based on empiricism. In the
information scientific field, several ''empirical laws'' have been formulated,
for example that of the allegedly inverse precision-recall relationship in
information retrieval, of the assumed direct relationship between consistency
and quality of indexing, and of the alleged equivalence of automatic with
Empiricism is seen as only another variation of positivism, which has been abandoned in the natural sciences since the middle of this century for its evident inadequacy, but has latently survived in information science and even now dominates here. Here, it constitutes a source of continual confusion and an impediment to progress.
For literally anything an empirical ''proof'' can be submitted provided that suitable examples are selected and methods are chosen. Substantial advance in Library and Information Science requires abandoning empiricism." (Fugmann, 1999).
Fugmann, R. (1999). The empirical approach in the evaluation of information systems. Knowledge Organization, 26(1), 3-9.
Last edited: 05-03-2006