Finding Knowledge:
The epistemic context of
search & assessment
Simon Knight
@sjgknight
Denmark
• http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/834158
9.stm
Danish exams with internet access
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8341589.stm

• Allows testing of problem-solving an...
Why does epistemology matter?
“…assessment is one area where notions
of truth, accuracy and fairness have a
very practical...
Why does epistemology matter?
Denmark:
Evaluation & understanding connected
knowledge matters
Personal testimony (e.g. a t...
Exam Questions
• What is Clepsydra?
• What do we know?
Example: Do
you know the
year of the
first moon
walk?
This problem?

•

Figure 2 – xkcd comic illustrating one of the concerns regarding access to the internet, and an agent’s ...
Task Matters…
• Analogue with exams?
• http://lmgtfy.com/?q=jfgi
Task Matters

What were the main causes of….
Compare and contrast poet ‘a’ and poet ‘b’…
Evaluate the evidence for…

•

Fi...
Two sides of the coin
• What we ask students to do (tasks,
assessment, tools)
• What they do
Epistemology: In action
• What the tools and assessment assume
• What students do
• Perception doesn’t happen in a vacuum,...
Communication and Testimony
Bing: For every search, there is someone who
can help
Google: “know what you want before you
k...
Filter Bubbles
Risks: Injustice
• testimonial injustice – marginalisation of some
knowledge by specific users (personalisation
based on u...
Risks: Content holes
• Gender & language bias
in Wikipedia articles
• Social search has same
problem
• Perspective
But testimony is fundamental

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/bridge.png
Good
informants
personalise
Reconciling users and tools
• User & tool responsibilities in the giving and
receiving of information
Diversity Aware Search
Balancer analyses your
web browsing to show you
the political slant of your
reading history. If you...
Information Literacy
• But in many cases news articles don’t give
opposing views, they just don’t give a view.
• This ‘tes...
Epistemology: In action
• What the tools provide
• What students do
• Perception doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it is
action ...
Epistemology: In action
• Multiple Perspectives
• Some people might be
standing in different
positions/have different
info...
Thank you
You are asked to draw a comparison of the
perspectives in the sources, using your
knowledge of the time. “Right”...
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Finding Knowledge: Assessing Knowledge in the Age of Search

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I gave this talk at the Society of the Query #SoQ conference in Amsterdam

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  • http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=550&_IXSR_=s66udTk2vdQ&_IXSS_=_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2bfooooooo%253b%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26i_pre%3d%26IXTO%3d%26t%3d%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26i_num%3d%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26w%3d%26%2524%253ds%3dbrain%26IXFROM%3d%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26_IXrescount%3d1341&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Modern_water_clock.JPG
  • ‘’Do you know the year of the first walk on the moon?’ You might answer ‘Yes, 1969.’ In answering ‘yes’ you do not mean to imply that this date was present to your conscious awareness all along. You do not walk around all day mentally rehearsing ‘1969,’ ‘1969,’ ‘1969.’ Rather, your ‘yes’ signifies that the information was indeed there, poised for easy access and retrieval from your biological memory’ (Clark, 2003, p. 42). Given this, under the parity principle an equivalent process should be considered equivalent knowledge, just so long as we have the right kind of cognitive ability for the belief to constitute knowledge. Thus, if I am aware of some good websites, or textbooks, such that I can look dates up relatively quickly, reliably, and with a high level of trust, we wish to say that this is equivalent to the internal function. Interestingly, it is not of course equivalent to the internal mechanism – an interesting point, because it looks like in this instance at least it involves ‘more’ knowledge, specifically a certain type of ‘knowledge-how’ regarding the use of websites and search functions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing
  • http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Janus_coin.png
  • http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=344&_IXSR_=CCCpq8yDLM6&_IXSS_=_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2bfooooooo%253b%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26%3d%26_IXrescount%3d553%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%253ds%3dmeasurement&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft
  • https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eli_Pariser,_author_of_The_Filter_Bubble_-_Flickr_-_Knight_Foundation_%281%29.jpg cc licence
  • https://xkcd.com/470/http://xkcd.com/773/http://xkcd.com/545/
  • http://xkcd.com/953/
  • http://balancestudy.org/balancer/
  • http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=344&_IXSR_=CCCpq8yDLM6&_IXSS_=_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2bfooooooo%253b%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26%3d%26_IXrescount%3d553%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%253ds%3dmeasurement&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/homo_sapiens/448621784/sizes/m/in/photostream/ CC-NC
  • http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=550&_IXSR_=s66udTk2vdQ&_IXSS_=_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2bfooooooo%253b%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26i_pre%3d%26IXTO%3d%26t%3d%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26i_num%3d%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26w%3d%26%2524%253ds%3dbrain%26IXFROM%3d%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26_IXrescount%3d1341&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft
  • Finding Knowledge: Assessing Knowledge in the Age of Search

    1. 1. Finding Knowledge: The epistemic context of search & assessment Simon Knight @sjgknight
    2. 2. Denmark • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/834158 9.stm
    3. 3. Danish exams with internet access http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8341589.stm • Allows testing of problem-solving and analysis - sifting information • Currently, no communication sites allowed • Fundamentally epistemological claims
    4. 4. Why does epistemology matter? “…assessment is one area where notions of truth, accuracy and fairness have a very practical purchase in everyday life” (Williams, 1998, p. 221).
    5. 5. Why does epistemology matter? Denmark: Evaluation & understanding connected knowledge matters Personal testimony (e.g. a teacher or friend) is forbidden Web/search informants are ok • • •
    6. 6. Exam Questions • What is Clepsydra? • What do we know?
    7. 7. Example: Do you know the year of the first moon walk?
    8. 8. This problem? • Figure 2 – xkcd comic illustrating one of the concerns regarding access to the internet, and an agent’s individual intelligence (xkcd, 2011).
    9. 9. Task Matters… • Analogue with exams? • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=jfgi
    10. 10. Task Matters What were the main causes of…. Compare and contrast poet ‘a’ and poet ‘b’… Evaluate the evidence for… • Figure 2 – xkcd comic illustrating one of the concerns regarding access to the internet, and an agent’s individual intelligence (xkcd, 2011).
    11. 11. Two sides of the coin • What we ask students to do (tasks, assessment, tools) • What they do
    12. 12. Epistemology: In action • What the tools and assessment assume • What students do • Perception doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it is action oriented
    13. 13. Communication and Testimony Bing: For every search, there is someone who can help Google: “know what you want before you know it”
    14. 14. Filter Bubbles
    15. 15. Risks: Injustice • testimonial injustice – marginalisation of some knowledge by specific users (personalisation based on user’s search history) (prejudice) • hermeneutical injustice – marginalisation of some knowledge by system-level assumptions (e.g. personalisation on a country level); users may not realise they are being marginalised
    16. 16. Risks: Content holes • Gender & language bias in Wikipedia articles • Social search has same problem • Perspective
    17. 17. But testimony is fundamental http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/bridge.png
    18. 18. Good informants personalise
    19. 19. Reconciling users and tools • User & tool responsibilities in the giving and receiving of information
    20. 20. Diversity Aware Search Balancer analyses your web browsing to show you the political slant of your reading history. If you get way out of balance, we may even give you reading suggestions. NewsCube: Delivering Multiple Aspects of News to Mitigate Media Bias ‘liquid publications’: Scholar search to avoid homophily in one’s academic network by down-ranking papers with authors whom the searcher has coauthored with in the past http://project.liquidpub.org/tools.
    21. 21. Information Literacy • But in many cases news articles don’t give opposing views, they just don’t give a view. • This ‘testimony of silence’ is harder to deal with • Good indicator of why info literacy still v important
    22. 22. Epistemology: In action • What the tools provide • What students do • Perception doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it is action oriented
    23. 23. Epistemology: In action • Multiple Perspectives • Some people might be standing in different positions/have different information • Tools should foreground assumptions & users should be aware
    24. 24. Thank you You are asked to draw a comparison of the perspectives in the sources, using your knowledge of the time. “Right”, you think, as you open up a popular search engine, “what do I need to know…”. Simon Knight @sjgknight

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