Tolkien Gateway:Original research
Original research refers to claims in articles for which no published source exists. While editors on Tolkien Gateway foremostly are encouraged to cite sources for claims in articles (see Help:References), a limited amount of original research may be used for theories or assumptions:
- when an unreferenced claim has a clear scholarly value for the subject in question
- when an unreferenced claim is especially useful or interesting for the subject in question
- when an unreferenced claim has been deduced from logical reasoning, such as calculations of dates, sizes, numbers, astronomical phenomena, or deducing of ancient linguistic forms.
Anything beyond these circumstances may border on fanon and subsequently be removed.
If original research is added to or found in an article, appropriate wording must make clear that the claim made is only an approximation, or a possibility.
It must be noted that Tolkien Gateway differentiates from Wikipedia's No original research policy by not forbidding "Original research" per se. Unreferenced claims of theories are not to be criticized or removed from the text on the grounds that they are unreferenced.
Of course, if a written source is eventually found to back up a previously unreferenced claim, that source should be included and 'fill the gap'. The same must be also if a written source supercedes or obsoletes such an unreferenced theory.
Original research and fanon
"Original research" can qualify as Tolkienology and is not the same as "fanon". Fanon refers to totally original elements, radical (or even arbitrary) theories, and personal or subjective interpretations of the stories. Fanon is not to be included in articles.
For example, mentioning a "reasonable" number of casualties in a battle, whereas none is mentioned or suggested in Tolkien's text, constitutes as fanon.
Deciding whether something is acceptable original research or fanon, is a matter of common sense and good editorial judgment. Issues should be discussed on article talk pages.