Blogs provide a channel for demonstrating expertise, talents, and telling success stories. Digital entrepreneurs have found blogging to be a highly effective tool for having their own online business. The blogging phenomenon has also reached the field of research: The number of blogging researcher is increasing. However, the motivations for a researcher being a blogger is different. While a digital entrepreneur wants to create a proﬁtable blog, most researcher see a blog as a tool that helps researchers develop their writing, sharing their views and creating relations within their research field.
Three reasons for being a blogging researcher
The results of Kjellberg’s study (2010) show that the researchers’ use of blogs are in many ways related to the descriptions of general blogging practices. An important factor for blogging is the interaction between the researcher and the audience: According to Kjellberg (2010) interaction “is an action supported by the blog as a tool; a reciprocal action between the blogging researcher and someone in the audience.” Often, however, researchers have the feeling that blogging is more of one–way communication than a dialogue (Kjellberg 2010).
According to Kjellberg’s study, there are three main reasons for a blogging researcher:
- Sharing: The motivation often derives from the wish to express opinions and sharing their views on things. The target group can mostly be found within the research field or other practically oriented areas (the researchers become visible)
- Room for creativity: The blog can also be regarded as a tool that helps researchers develop their writing. A lot of researcher refer to blog writing as generating positive energy and emphasise that it is not restrained in the same way as is the case with other writing for research (Kjellberg 2010).
- Feeling connected: Just as used in the general blogging practice, the function of blogs in the field of research are important for creating relations both in the scholarly community and outside of it. According to Kjellbergs’ study, feeling connected also has to do with self–representation and making yourself known.
Functions for blog use in a scholarly context (according to Kjellberg 2010):
Personal motivations for blogging in a scholary context
I personally decided to create this blog because it motivates me much more to start with the writing process than is the case in more formal scholarly texts. I try to publish at least one article every two weeks. The main idea is that the blog helps me to keep writing. And I feel that it has been very useful for me, because I actually sit down almost every day and write something. Besides, it forces myself to keep up-to-date with my own research field. The blog helps me to develop my writing skills, reflect, and express ideas.
The choice of language is an important topic for writing a research-based blog. I think there are two main options: If you do not want to attract high numbers of visitors to your blog (the blog then mainly addresses other researchers in your field), you should rather use a scientific language so that your blog articles can be simply used in your PhD thesis or research articles in the long run. The relations that are created through the blog makes it also possible to contact people that would otherwise be outside of the researcher’s normal context. These can be people from other disciplines.
On the other hand, you can try to attract high numbers of visitors by making your research accessible to the general public. In my experience this is the more challenging option as you have to reduce the breadth and depth of the research to make it interesting for the public.
Kjellberg, S. (2009). “Scholarly blogging practice as situated genre: An analytical framework based on genre theory,” Information Research, volume 14, number 3, paper 410, at http://informationr.net/ir/14-3/paper410.html, accessed 14 November 2016.
Kjellberg, S. (2010): I am a blogging researcher: Motivations for blogging in a scholarly context. First Monday, Volume 15, Number 8 – 2 August 2010, accessed 25 November 2016 http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2962/2580