Fast and Furious: Blogging for Digital Scholarship

Heap, Tania and Shailey Minocha (2012). “An Empirically Grounded Framework to Guide Blogging for Digital Scholarship.” Research in Learning Technology, 20(Supp.): 176–188.

Boyer (1990) developed a conceptual framework which defines “scholarship” as a combination of teaching and research activities. In particular, he suggests four dimensions to define scholarship: discovery, integration, application and teaching.

Okay. Those seem like a reasonable place to start. I actually like them.

digital scholarship Heap and Minocha

What they came up with.

We have found that blogs seem to occupy an intermediate space among established writing forms such as peer-reviewed academic papers, newspaper articles, diaries, blurring the private􏰀public and formal/informal divide (Heap and Minocha 2011).

There is a growing awareness of blogging as a writing or communicative genre in academia and research and as a new form of scholarship (e.g. Halavais 2007). Whilst it is important to ensure validity of work through established forms of publishing, integrating blogs may help research findings to be known to more readers, specialist and non-specialist, for whom the findings may be relevant to their practice. Blogs also enable sharing information without time lags involved in formal publications.

They give some information, but their research questions don’t appear to me to be all that valid. Who cares why I started blogging? What does that have to do with my academic blog as it is now? Should it be seen as having something to do with it? (I hope not.)

The next steps in our research are to validate the effectiveness of the framework as a thinking tool about digital scholarship, and for guiding the practice of blogging in academia and research. This involves evaluating the framework with colleagues who already blog as a part of their practice, or who are considering adopting blogging for digital scholarship. The feedback will help us improve the framework. We have also developed empirically grounded guidelines on blogging, which we will share with colleagues in other publications in the near future.

I look at their “guidelines” and I”m like, what? It discusses motivations for beginning a blog, the benefits of blogging, and the challenges of blogging.

This is not what I would expect from an empirically grounded guideline for blogging in digital scholarship.

Maybe I’m on the wrong track or they’re up a rabbit trail.

2 thoughts on “Fast and Furious: Blogging for Digital Scholarship”

  1. Thank you for reading our paper Dr Davis, and for your helpful comments too! However, there are no guidelines there, hence perhaps your confusion, they will be published soon in another paper, in the last sentence you quote we were just mentioning our future work.

    As for your other comment, you make a valid point, although in a paper you have to be selective, it was extracted from my thesis which gives more information about how we derived the research questions and why we investigated them. The motivations for beginning a blog may have nothing to do with beginning ‘an academic blog’ in the first place. Yes, we have had academics and researchers beginning a blog to support their practice, but we also had those who began a personal blog for other reasons, then they turned it into an academic blog, we had those who used it for both personal and professional reasons. The first research question is a starting point to understand why they chose the blog in the first place and not another medium, why they still use it, why blogging and not just twittering for instance, or why they combine blogging with other social media.

    The other important point which I omitted in the paper (and on reading your views I think I should have at least mentioned it) is that we didn’t collect the ‘real’ motivations for beginning a blog, but the participants’ beliefs, looking retrospectively, about what their motivations were for beginning a blog. Most bloggers had been blogging for years, so when they began blogging they may have had a different reason for starting to blog. Today, their beliefs about their motivations for blogging may have been influenced by their experience as bloggers.

    I hope that makes some sense 🙂

  2. Absolutely does.

    Thank you for the clarification. I look forward to reading the guidelines, too.

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