[Air-l] Reference sources and research

Ken Friedman ken.friedman at bi.no
Mon Dec 5 21:36:42 PST 2005

Dear Andrew,

This is too sharp a rule for me. I have no objection to reference books
as sources. One can often find useful bits of information, definitions,
pointers, and references that add dimension to articles and papers. This is
especially true of specialized reference works. For example, in working
through issues in philosophy of design where I try to develop a sense of
meaning and consensus on terminology and issues, I often use Mautner's
Dictionary of Philosophy, and occasionally the superb philosophy articles
from the now on-line edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia from the early

Reference books serve a valuable role in scholarship and even in original
research. Simply repeating the text in a reference book is not research.
Using information judiciously to advance an argument is part of research,
and reliable reference sources are one place to look.

This is precisely why reference books should be reliable.




Andrew Lih wrote:

Wikipedia should be treated no differently than any encyclopedia in
this respect - you can't use it as a source. That's been true for me
ever since junior high school.

As someone who has been involved with the project for many years, I
still tell my students - don't cite it as a source, or you'll be
marked down.


Ken Friedman
Professor of Leadership and Strategic Design
Institute for Communication, Culture, and Language
Norwegian School of Management

Design Research Center
Denmark's Design School

email: ken.friedman at bi.no

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