Why do academics blog
Two brilliant academic bloggers, Dr Igner Mewburn, Director of Research Training, at The Australian National University, Melbourne, Australia and Professor Pat Thomson, Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies, Director of the Centre for Research in Schools and Communities, at the School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK, did a piece of research in 2013 on the motivations of 100 academics who blog.
As we’ve mentioned, Mewburn and Thomson found nine types of posts amongst the blogs examined:
1. Academic cultural critique 41%
2. Research dissemination 40%
3. Academic practices 34%
4. Information 24%
5. Self-help advice 17%
6. Technical advice 15%
7. Personal 8%
8. Teaching advice 7%
9. Career advice 4%
But they found it harder to ascertain the motivations for the academics who were writing these posts and who their target audience was. In their research they found that although academics are often urged to blog in order to reach a wider audience, the content is often more geared to others working in that particular discipline. In the conclusion of the blog post on the finding of this research output, Mewburn and Thomson say:
“There is now a lively online discussion on the value of blogs as a form of research output. We have some sympathy with this argument, given the high number of disciplinary conversations we saw in our sample set. Our pilot study suggests that we should, perhaps, be more wary of the idea of counting blogs as a form of research impact outside the academy, given the relative ‘insider’ nature of the content we observed. ‘Insider’ does not always mean ‘bad.’ There is a need for academics to talk to each other to advance the state of knowledge in their respective disciplines. We would argue that blogs provide a speedy, easy format to allow this conversation in an open access format.”
Click here to read the full post on Euro Scientist.com
How to create consistent content for your academic blog
Whatever your motivations for blogging, one can start with great gusto but sustaining regular content can often prove to be a challenge no matter how seasoned a writer you are. Kevin Anselmo has created a programme that helps professors, researchers and PhD students communicate their research and ideas both through traditional and digital media. In his post on the London School of Economics Social Impact blog, he sets out a useful editorial approach to content planning for your academic blog.
Click here to read the full post.
If you are considering starting a blog and would like to dip your toe in the water and try your hand at sharing your experiences of your career in academia then we would like to hear from you.
We are looking for contributors to our blog, so if you would like to share your experiences on any of the following topics then get in touch (Email us here at email@example.com):
• Brushing up on your CV
• Experience of good and bad interviews
• What works well in grant writing
• Why you have a mentor
• How you keep in touch with your professional network
• What are your experiences of moving location for your job
• How you use Twitter