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Lingua Fracta and Brooke’s view on research

In the second half of Lingua Fracta, Brooke discussed many issues in composition. One that I found most compelling was his discussion about research.

In a portion of the Performance chapter titled “Delivery as Performance,” Brooke discusses sources of information, online sources in particular. He discusses how easy it for students to turn to the internet for information and how “… educators, even those of us who advocate for information technologies … have tried to get a handle on the proliferation of electronic sources and resources…” (Brooke, 2009, p. 182) I can well imagine how a professor might cringe when credible sources are not utilized. To enhance credibility, Brooke further discusses the importance of choosing internet resources that show the author’s name and he quotes one source as saying that the posted research shouldn’t be created by a group or person with a “vested interest.” (p. 184)

Part of Brooke’s discussion revolved around Wikipedia. Students have received some mixed messages regarding usage of Wikipedia. While some professors have not banned Wikipedia from being a utilized resource, others have banned it. Brooke says, “no particular expertise is required to contribute to Wikipedia, although inaccuracies and misinformation are not likely to last long…” (p. 188) Brooke, however, takes a generously balanced approach to Wikipedia. He says, “what many commentators on Wikipedia accuracy fail to acknowledge is that there are other forms of distributed credibility of work on the site. Each entry on Wikipedia is, in fact, the tip of a much larger iceberg of activity.” (Brooke, 2009, p. 190) He further says, “…credibility is not delivered prepackaged at Wikipedia, it is performed … the result sometimes can be messy. But it also can represent the kind of opportunity that traditional encyclopedias can never dream of providing.” (Brooke, 2009, p. 191). Though Brooke doesn’t necessarily advocate the use of Wikipedia in scholarly research, he does present a compelling discussion about how it may be credible.

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