Academics Online - A Sociology of Scholarship and the Internet

By Witte, James C. | The World and I, May 2000 | Go to article overview

Academics Online - A Sociology of Scholarship and the Internet


Witte, James C., The World and I


See also the article "Teleworld" on page 156 in the Natural Science section.

James C. Witte is professor of sociology at Clemson University, where he is also codirector of the Clemson University Survey Research Lab. Formerly he was on the faculty of Northwestern University.

"A modern theory of knowledge confines itself to discovering the relations between certain mental structures and the life-situations in which they exist. According to this view human thought arises, and operates, not in a social vacuum but in a definite social milieu. ... The problem is to show how, in the whole history of thought, certain intellectual standpoints are connected with certain forms of experience, and to trace the intimate interaction between the two in the course of social and intellectual change. "

----Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, 1929

Has the Internet affected scholarship? Unless this question is carefully defined, we are obviously dealing in trivialities. Perhaps, this definition is most easily clarified by examining what we do not mean by scholarship. An ever-growing proportion of America's public and private elementary and secondary schools are "wired," with varying levels of Internet access in their libraries, computer resource rooms, and classrooms. While one may agree with Chicago's Mayor Daley, who argues that our first concern should be with getting kids to read and then providing Internet access, it remains a fact that more and more American schoolchildren are learning online. However, in this essay the focus is not on education but on scholarship.

Looking at America's system of postsecondary education, it is also undeniable that the Internet has had a profound impact. Lexus/Nexis, Medline, Popline, Uncover, and other electronic literature data bases have replaced the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and the Social Science Index as the starting points for undergraduate and graduate research papers. Moreover, online syllabi, electronic reading reserves, and course-based chat rooms are widespread and increasingly sophisticated. But again, these are first and foremost instructional aids and not scholarly tools.

Turning our attention more narrowly to academic research, in the past several years there has been unprecedented growth in computer-related research funding. For example, total federal budget requests for the National Science Foundation (NSF) have increased from $3.32 billion for fiscal year 1997 to $3.95 billion for this year. This represents an 18.9 percent increase in the budget request for the federal agency charged with primary responsibility for the support and development of scientific research. Within the NSF budget, requests for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) program have grown 52.5 percent, from $227 million in 1997 to $423 million in the federal budget for this year. A sizable share of this increase is found in the brand-new $110 million Information Technology Initiative. On top of federal funding, private industry--particularly computer, communications, and information technology firms, as well as those in the defense industry--has also been an active player in funding computer and Internet research. The recent flowering of E-commerce has made America's business schools the latest beneficiaries of the Internet research dividend. Just last December Stanford University announced that its new Center for Electronic Business and Commerce had received more than $20 million in its first round of funding, primarily from industry sponsors Charles Schwab, General Atlantic Partners, and eBay.

Undeniably there has been a large increase in Internet-related research funding at America's colleges and universities. However, we need to return to our guiding question: Has the Internet changed scholarship? How has the Internet changed academic researchers engaged in basic scientific research at the highest level in a variety of disciplines? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Academics Online - A Sociology of Scholarship and the Internet
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.