Liz Thackray, one of our doctoral reserachers, asked if we could have an aggregated feed, for the blogs of researchers. I may not be great at generating ideas of my own, but that doesn’t disqualify me from recognising a good one when i hear it, so we’ve gone and set it up already. Trouble is, there’s only two researcher’s blogs on there so far, and they are Liz’s and Anna’s (brave lasses).
So this is an open invitation to you to join in:
Are you a researcher? (doctoral, post-doctoral, mid-career, senior)
Do you keep a blog? (it doesn’t have to be 100% research-related)
Would you like to add your blog to the Researcher Blogs list?
If the answer is yes to all three questions, then please use the form at the bottom of this post to send me the URL of your blog. I’ll add it to our aggregator, and your posts will appear over here…
Some blog every day, some every week, and some just whenever they feel like they have something to say. There are many good reasons for taking up the habit, and there is something for everyone – take your pick from:
Blog to record
Some people keep a research diary, and your blog can be your electronic record of your research process, perhaps your results (if you’re happy to share those early on), and maybe more importantly, to share when things haven’t gone so well. Because that’s the stuff that never gets published, but often this kind of material is the most useful to other researchers. Blogs have several advantages over paper diaries: your posts can be tagged, categorised and searched, for starters, so you can easily retrieve your content in a meaningful way. You can also copy and paste your text for use elsewhere, and it’s a fast way of building “draft zero” text to quickly get you to a positition where you are editing. Blogs are chronologically ordered, and sometimes this provides a clear narrative of how you got from that thinking back there… to this thinking right here. Handy to review when you’re writing up.
Blog to reflect
“It’s where I do my thinking out loud” Liz told me. Articulating your thoughts into written words can be a good excercise for the mind. Often your thoughts can make more sense when you’ve had to lay them out in words, and bashing out a blog post (or indeed, carefully crafting one) can work wonders for getting to the point of understanding what you think and feel about a topic, when before you might have felt muddled. This kind of reflective excercise is useful for the results it provides you with, but don’t overlook the value of being able to see the process in your writing too. Practice will make it quicker and easier for you.
Blog to dialogue / get feedback
Don’t forget that a blog is an outward-facing media (unless you’ve made it completely private), and you might want to exploit this more as you become more confident. A great reward of blogging, and one actively sought by many, is that it encourages others to engage with you: with your research and thinking. This may take the form of comments, and others comment on the comments. Before long you have a microcommunity taking a discussion further, developing a dialoge with you, your research, and eachother. The value for you here, is that you can learn so much from other’s perspectives – whether you agree with their point of view or not. Having someone else respond to you gives you another useful layer of understanding. If you’re very brave (or foolhardy?) you could ask your supervisor or principal investigator to read and comment on some of your posts. Or it might be you’d rather eat your own hair. 🙂 How far you open yourself up to dialogue (and of course, critisism), is completely up to you.
Blog to get your work “out there”
Lots of researchers blog, and those who do, are inclined to get involved in commenting on other similar blogs (see above on dialogue). The chances are, your posts might start attracting feedback from others working on a similar topic to you. They might point you in the direction of a resource you’ll find useful, or to another researcher who is blogging about the same things as you. Remember that your research field is often the pointy end of a knowledge-wedge. And at the pointy end, there are few people who know your subject as well as you do. Making contact with others at the thin end of the wedge will mean becoming part of a small research community, probably with members geographically disparate, who have very common aims, yet inhabit very different spheres (countries, institutions, career stages). Your research, then, becomes a valuable resource to others.
Contribute to other Researcher Blogs
Liz and Anna have bravely submitted their blogs to get the ball rolling. If you’re still unsure, or you want to see what all the fuss is about, have a look at some of their posts (next to the green arrow). Make some comments, give them some feedback. Get involved with these researchers, then come back and add your blog too.
Have I convinced you?
Then complete this quick form with the URL of your blog, and I’ll add it to the Researcher Blogs feed: