Empowering Human Cognitive Activity through Hypertext Technology
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This research explores how computers may be used by individual researchers engaged in cognitive activity and creating original outputs, specifically, how one of the emerging information technologies, hypertext, is able to provide suggestions for the understanding to support and empower human cognitive activity.The study investigates the possibility of a new model within which to approach that part of research that seeks to make connections to what has been done previously, and to stimulate new thoughts.Imagine swimming in a vast sea of potentially useful information. How can one possibly begin to make sense of it? Engage in a phenomenological experience in which the data is permitted to speak to you. Immerse yourself, navigate around with the ability to backtrack, search, explore trails of associative thought, all with a prepared mind. The mind is prepared, or sensitised, due to the previous research and learning ? the culture to which one belongs. The process will gradually cause an uncluttering of the sea of information resulting eventually in what in this thesis is termed Generative Conceptualisation. The tools and techniques used to do this (for it is impossible to work unaided with large amounts of data) will have provided the empowerment to generate and create. The tyranny of linear order has been replaced by the dynamically varying structure of selected, sometimes hierarchical and othertimes herterarchic or network views of the data, forming or exposing (primarily through juxtaposition) insights, new ideas, and new knowledge. These are some characteristics of working in a hypertext paradigm.Generative Conceptualisation is introduced to describe the intermingling of human mind and computer hypertext, which, it is argued, results in a greater degree of original output by researchers. A hypertext paradigm, the definition of which emerges in the thesis, is suggested as being an environment for Generative Conceptualisation. A theory (substantive) of knowledge creation is offered in the concluding chapter, in the light of which existing formal theories of knowledge creation may be reviewed or elaborated.
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