12 May 2009

Blogging Research

Over the past couple of years I, and a few folks I know, have ventured into blogging. It's kind of fun. It's sometimes just another thing that I'm not getting done. The obsession with finding out how many people are reading it is probably not very healthy. What has been most interesting for me is discovering the many, many blogs out there. I started out following a couple of knitting blogs and friends. Then some design and productivity-type blogs. Now I'm leaning more towards sewing blogs (many) and especially mama-blogs, of which there are quite a few. These tend to alternately inspire me and convince me that (1) sending my son to daycare may be pretty darn selfish, (2) my craftiness is a blip on the screen of craftiness possibilities, and (3) I have got to learn to take and post much better pictures of my boy!

There's another category entirely, though, that's catching my attention now. It's the blog in which someone chronicles a project with a view towards writing a book. I'll call it the research blog. Now, some of the blogs out there are kept by ladies (for some reason, I follow almost exclusively female bloggers) who ended up writing a book. But I know of at least two cases in which the blog specifically chronicles the research leading up to a book: The Happiness Project and Living Oprah. And here's the reason I'm writing about these two ladies: what if I were to blog my dissertation research? I can't imagine how mind-numbingly boring that would be for anyone reading. At least, that's my first thought. On the other hand, it would also be an opportunity for receiving comments and suggestions that might otherwise never reach me. So, it's kind of tempting. I'll have to think about it.

But first, let me add a gazillion links to this post and get it on-line. Then check my stats...


  1. blogging your dissertation...I've thought about it too!! Every time I post on my blog, I can stay focused on the job on hand for the time necessary to go from picture to translation to final editing...I want to get a message across, and generally I'm quite satisfied with the result. So, blogging the dissertation would probably be a good idea, but somehow, I still blog about my life and not about my research. I wonder why.

  2. I confess to looking at blog stats about once a week; the most interesting bit is seeing the variety of places that readers come from. The number of readers is constant; dips on holidays and Sundays when people are outside.

    It's interesting that you mention people using blogs to do research while they write. Pamela Slim (Escape form Cubicle Nation) said the same thing about how it helped with writing her book, as have other writers.

    It may be how younger authors do research: a business school lecturer once told me that, while boomers head to the encyclopedia, x-ers are more likely to poll their friends. Blogs may just be a tool for this trend..

  3. @manu: blogging really is much more fun than research writing, though. Or maybe we make research writing too much work. Most writing guru types stress writing flat-out and ignoring ye olde inner editor. That's easier to do when there aren't any external editors to worry about!

    @Dave: so glad I'm not the only one who's stat obsessed. It's like being on the playground and counting your friends! As for polling friends, I think it might be more complex than you describe. The amount of information available today means that there isn't a one place to go anymore. With regards to my research, I'm learning that asking a couple key people about their ideas can help me focus and refine my own so I can move forward. Otherwise, I think the danger of doing work that's already been done or moving forward with a project that lacks greater relevance is too big. I do remember the old World Book encyclopedias, though. Do they even make them anymore?

  4. You should write for yourself - and then your readers will come! Be confident, go forth and conquer!


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