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Friday, August 28, 2009

Blogs as Research Logs

Most people think of blogging as writing a diary entry and then posting it to the internet so everyone else can read it.  The mundane happenings of one’s daily existence aren’t things that most people feel a need to chronicle, much less let complete strangers read about online. 

Blogging has come a long way in the few short years it’s been around and no longer is it just a venue for angst-filled teenagers and bored office drones to vent their frustrations to a public in the hopes that other like-minded people will find their page and empathize.  In fact, blogging doesn’t even have to use words anymore (Search “photo blogs” to see what I mean). 

Instead of using blogs for their “intended” purpose, think of how you can use them to suit your own needs.  Surely they’re useful for more than just being interactive journals.  While I was at Armadillocon, a panelist in the “Blogging and Podcasting” panel I was attending mentioned using blogs as research logs.

Post-it notes and notebooks can get lost.  Blogs can’t, which makes them wonderful candidates for holding information you have a vested interest in accessing later.  I don’t personally have a blog that I use as a research log to show you, but I do follow a person that does.

Dr. David from Teaching College English uses her blog to not only elaborate on issues affecting the college English community, but also to keep track of research she does for her articles.  To see how it’s done, take a look at her “Interrupted…Stockton and Sielke” post.  In it, she keeps track of the sources, relevant quotes from them, and her thoughts about the quotes/source.  You don’t have to go into such detail, though.  Including nothing more than a list of links you want to keep track of so you can go to them later when writing your paper is just as acceptable a way of “logging” your research.  See Dr. Davis’ “Composition Journals” post to see this form of research logging in action.

You might not be doing enough research to warrant using a blog to log it.  If that’s the case, what DO you do that you can do more easily using a blog? 


Photo credit: Claire L. Evan


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