College of Computer Studies

Metaphors and the Construction of Knowledge

(67 F U 3 06)
by: Dr. Zelinna Cynthia Pablo
Information Technology Department

In this study I examine metaphors on web-based portals, in particular examining their implications on how knowledge is constructed. Using case methods and discourse analytic techniques, I conduct a comparative study of Web-based portals established under a World-Bank project known as the Development Gateway. Drawing from previous work that suggests that three metaphors (expert, market, and community) are significant across portals, I select an "expert" portal and a "community" portal to examine particular ways in which knowledge comes to be constructed. My findings suggests that the expert portal is linked with the view of knowledge as universal, whereas the community portal is linked the view of knowledge as socially constructed. This in turn has implications on which stakeholders have more voice or less voice in the knowledge production process. An expert portal appears to be characterized by tightly controlled processes of knowledge construction wherein participants are limited to a few key players, while a community portal appears to have participative, relatively unstructured processes of knowledge production.