Research Blogging: Notes from Our Workshop

Here’s some notes from our recent workshop on blogging. “Getting Started with Scholarly Blogging: Blogs as a Research and Teaching Tool in the Humanities,” held Tuesday, 2 October, 2012, 4:00-6:00pm.  These are pretty much directly from my powerpoint presentation. It was good to see so many people at the workshop and lots of fun to talk about academic blogging with Mark and with the workshop participants. I hope we get to do it again.

My experience as an academic blogger: I began by talking about my experience with blogging which dates back to 2006 when I joined the Philosophy, Ethics and Academia Blog, PEA Soup. My main blogging experience though is with the Feminist Philosophers Blog, http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/ For FP I’ve written more 200 posts of varying length and significance. My most widely read post has 14,000 views. and a typical post has several hundred views. I’ve also written a bit for the Philosophy of Sport blog,  http://philosophyandsports.blogspot.com/ 

Recently I’ve started a more personal blog with my friend and colleague Tracy Isaacs  Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty.

Kinds of research blogs: Next up, we covered the kinds of research blogs out there from pure research blogs (not accessible to the public, could be in specialized academic journals) to blogs that set out to popularize research, talking about research (think of Dollars and Sex, http://bigthink.com/blogs/dollars-and-sex). We also talked about blogs that really just are extensions of journals which focus on discussions of journal papers and book reviews and then for fun we talked about some of the more gossipy blogs about the academic profession. I also shared some of the recent philosophy tumblrs because they’re so much fun: http://looksphilosophical.tumblr.com/, Looks Philosophical and Disabled Philosophers: We Exist, http://disabledphilosophers.wordpress.com/

Why Blog:

•Keep in touch with researchers all over the world, broader research community
•Makes our work accessible to the non-academic world
•Keeps us in touch with current events and things going on in the world
•I get a great charge out of the number of people who read and discuss our blog
I think it’s also especially important for minority scholars or undervalued, marginalized fields:
“Academic blogging: minority scholars cannot afford to be silent”Blogging is a vital tool to make visible work that has been ignored or undervalued. Minority academics must become aware of how important blogging is to articulate their ideashttp://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/jul/12/blogging-for-minority-subjects-and-academicsLast but not least, you can get terrific feedback on your work. Blogs often have very generous readers.

Professor Roger PielkeJr from the University of Colorado pointed out in his speech to the Lowy Institute last week, blogging has had a directly beneficial impact on his research:  (Blogging) is a remarkably powerful tool for refining ideas, for collecting intelligence, for making contacts. I get routinely better feedback critique from ideas, arguments, I put out on my blog than I do in the peer review process….”

from Why academics should blog by Sam Roggevee, http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/02/16/Why-academics-should-blog.aspx

Tricky Issues:

•Anonymity versus getting credit
•Managing online identities
•Dealing with colleagues who don’t read blogs, don’t view them as important
•Trolls, sexism, and dealing with comments
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