April 13, 2010

Attaining reliable knowledge

First blog on this module! We spent the morning trying to brainstorm on what different ways of attaining different external knowledge there are. We came up with quite a decent list, and I think that some of the most effective ones that we decided upon were primary research and secondary research, such as looking at annual reports, market reports, doing research of other organisations, surveying customers and creating focus groups. More intricate ones that we were able to list were ones such as merging with other organisations, hiring consultants, buying knowledge if this is available, creating partnerships with local authorities or organisations, and even covertly spying on other organisations!

but then at the end of the session, Paul made the important point of how we need to test each source for reliability, and that not all knowledge can be immediately trusted. On the surface, a survey seems like it can be reliable, but it needs to be carried out so that the population of the survey covers an equal spread of society, and even then the answers may not be reliable if the people that are interviewed have an agenda, which is possible. the information that can be found on an organisations website may be out of date, biased or even in some cases intentionally misleading and inaccurate. government statistics can be inaccurate as well, if their sources of information are unreliable. so this creates the important notion of verifying, which must be applied to all sources of knowledge, either by comparing the information to other related sources to back it up, or by studying the source and deciding how likely it is to be giving information that is unbiased, up to date and in a position to have the correct knowledge themselves. when we were listing our effecting methods, we failed to consider that some of these methods will be completely ineffective if they are unreliable, and this is what we will have to think about throughout the module

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