Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Five top reasons why I blog about my research

I attended the #phdchat weekly meeting on Twitter last week, and the topic of discussion was why you should, or shouldn't blog about your research. This made me reflect on the reasons why I am blog about my research.

1. To record and process my thoughts, actions and outcomes
I don't know how many times I have started research journals, but if the number of very beautiful, flowery but empty notepads that are lying around the place are to go by, quite a few times. For some reason I have been a lot more successful using a blog. I don't lose it. I can go back to it and review my posts. And it is very easy to disseminate a blog url if I want to share my ideas with others.

2. To seek feedback, advice and critique
The readers of the blog have actively contributed to all stages of my research over the years, including helping me to develop ideas for proposals and methodology. All sorts of people read my blog so I get so many different perspectives in the comments, which makes the feedback so rich. You do have to be quite brave to be open in this way, but once you make a start, it does get easier.

3. To model open research processes
My aim is for people to be able to learn from the processes I use and thus learn from my mistakes as well as my successes...in the same way I hope to learn from others. I believe the transparency of the research process makes as valuable a contribution to knowledge production as the final research outcome.

4. To disseminate my research
It can take years to get your research into formal publications, so blogging about your research attains instant publication, and may have more readers than if you have it published in academic journals. There are reasons why research published in academic journals is valued more highly than blog posts, but I do not see why two cannot go along side-by-side.

5. To increase my research and academic profile
Lets face it, part of the academic game that researchers play is building an international reputation so they get invited to speak at conferences, consult with other researchers, and be able to access more research funding....and keep their jobs! Having an online profile that can be easily accessed and tracked (as long as it is a positive profile!) contributes to that international reputation....and having a informative and interactive blog will help you build that profile. My blog has been invaluable for all sorts of international consultancy offers, networking opportunities and research collaborations which would never have come about if I just relied on traditional communication modes.
Do you blog about your research? What has been your experience? What has blogging contributed to your research?

More reading
Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? The Verdict

Writing research for different audiences: Key points to consider:

10 reasons why your research group should have a blog: http://mattisongroup.com/blog/2012/01/04/why-should-your-research-group-have-a-blog/

Using social media to communicate research outputs:

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