set of activities and good practices. First of all, it is important to
understand what knowledge is.
Despite many fancy definitions, "knowledge" simply means what a person
knows. No other object can contain knowledge other than the human mind. A
computer can never "know" something. It can process information, but at some
point a human mind is required to make sense of it all. Furthermore, we need
to revisit the term production. Production means to produce something new
from some raw materials. It is something useful that we can apply to meet
our needs. Therefore, to produce knowledge means to take some raw material,
process it together with other materials to enhance what a person knows.
Now, what are these raw materials? Raw material for the production of
knowledge is called data. Data for knowledge production is acquired by means
of research methods. The modern practice is to acquire data by accessing
what is readily and openly available. Extensive jargon has been developed
around this practice, such as "open access". Eventually it simply means
that the researcher access what is easily available in a cost-effective way
such as the internet or the traditional library, before phoning, e-mailing
or interviewing an expert. However, the experienced researcher knows that
open access do not necessarily mean acquiring complete reliable data.
Reliable and complete data means reaching out to the community where the
data is situated. A community is a group of people who act together for a
common purpose. Therefore, the researcher needs to interact or intra-act
with the community to acquire the data. Interaction means communicating with
them over a distance. Intra-action implies moving into the community,
gaining their lasting trust and respect. Jargon such as "action research",
"field research" and "communities of practice" have been developed around
this practice. It means that a specific community willingly share what they
know to serve a collective purpose.
The gathering of data for knowledge production is becoming a very exiting
venture. Nowadays communities vary from the African village to online social
networks. The challenge to knowledge production is to become part of these
communities and to serve the community by not only gathering data from them,
but to process the data into knowledge that could be used for community