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ResearchSpace is based on the foundational processes of research whether professional research or day to day research used for practical activities - knowledge based work. Research represents the processes of investigation and collection of empirical evidence. However, these historical sources can reveal or hide, for example deliberate obfuscation, institutional bias or the exercise of ideology and power. Added to this there are gaps in historical evidence. Research involves building interconnected patterns of facts, linking them meaningfully in a way that leads to or necessitates a particular conclusion establishing mutually supportive patterns or resolving contradiction. This is not a static process. Empirical investigation and analysis is continual leading to better and improved explanations. Systems need to represent change and transformation with a framework that is valid over time so that measurements can be made and valuable historical knowledge preserved. This evolution of knowledge and understanding is an important part of research which is discarded by traditional databases.

Digital Instrumentation

Researchers investigate empirical sources and abstract from them. This abstraction is "concrete" and refers to directly to the sources. This is necessary for people to fully understand it and to help them derive new knowledge. There must be a meaningful association between information and the referent for recipients to gain knowledge. Database systems represents a secondary abstraction, but removes the concrete connection to reality. Database data is metaphysical, lacks semantics and has no link to reality. It limits what can be understood and who can understand it. It is not an environment for developing new knowledge, only for an index with limited scope.

ResearchSpace in Practice

ResearchSpace allows you to investigate and collect facts, organise them into historical patterns and to draw conclusions. The conclusions are stored in the same sementic network as the empirical facts and patterns. In other words the full cycle from investigation, analysis and conclusion is retained within one structured data system. Its ontological framework ensures integration across the work of different researchers and through cooperation researchers investigations can build into quality quantitative data (linked back to the micro investigations) to inform historical generations. The separation between micro and macro is resolved and people can view history through different levels of generality and link lived experience to social relations and wider systems.