Following the problems in the sub-prime lending market in America and the run on Northern Rock in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan. In the last 7 days Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches. Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived. While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black. Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.
(Two paragraphs on 21st century skills, from a provocative essay considering the dynamics of a post-literate environment. Italics added.)
What is significantly different between a literate framing of research, and the emergent information seeking model is the influence of multiple, overlapping and intertwined contexts on the research process itself—external, internal and a context of cognitive approaches. The most significant external context factor was found to be the social network of the researcher, as well as the organizational support and encouragement for interdisciplinary research. The internal context reflects the researcher her/himself, relative both to already-possessed knowledge of the subject areas to be explored, and confidence in their own abilities to navigate amidst the unknown in foreign disciplines. The four cognitive approaches that Foster identified include flexibility and adaptiveness, openness to ideas that seem to be paradoxical or inconsistent with pre-existing conceptions, the ability for nomadic thought, and a holistic approach to knowledge. These cognitive approaches reflect the ability of the researcher to adapt to the rigours of various disciplines, while being open to having no preconceptions or prior framework with which to prejudge information relevance. It also reflects the researcher’s ability to think widely and diversely about a topic. Such diverse thinking includes the ability to discard the thinking frames imposed by a specific discipline, while being able to introduce and understand a wide range of information from diverse disciplines, incorporating them as either new answers or new questions.
This non-linear model of information seeking rejects the linear and deterministic scientific method, and tends to be more consistent with the various qualitative approaches in which patterns of knowledge emerge through an iterative and recursive process of seeking new information from diverse sources that is assimilated across multiple contexts, some of which are external to, and some of which are internal to, the seeker. The researcher must be self-aware in order to make sense of the research, and must locate herself both within the context, and as a context, for the research. Essentially the interdisciplinary researcher assumes a constructivist standpoint, in which the former literate quest for Truth gives way to a quest for making sense of the world as it is experienced.