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1University of Illinois, United States of America; 2University of Waikato, New Zealand
It seems that in much current research, big truths have to be protected by a bodyguard of little white lies, and a phalanx of unreported inconvenient truths. What would happen if we actually told the truth about how we really do research? Let’s see...
A Little Antagonism Might Be Nice: Investigation in Information Science
D. Carter1, D. Sholler2, A. Acker3
1Texas State University, USA; 2University of California, Berkeley, USA; 3University of Texas at Austin, USA
Academic research often claims to investigate phenomena, but we conventionally insist that such investigations take place with the consent of those being studied. In this blue sky paper, we suggest that information science researchers should consider the contexts in which it might be beneficial to violate this norm and pursue what we describe as antago-nistic investigation. In relation to illegal and socially harmful activities such as platform manipulation, fraud and the spread of propaganda, we argue that researchers should go against the wishes of those they’re studying and possibly, in the process, violate privacy norms, challenge illegal activities and call for accountability as a result of research. While these investigative activities are not conventional in information science research, they draw on core strengths of the field and position researchers to produce impactful work on relevant and pressing topics.