|Photo by Daiga Ellaby | unsplash.com|
It can be a bit too easy at times to jump into things like blogging. The platforms you set up on are usually very user-friendly and it all seems to be straightforward, right?
Well...it depends. The process of setting up a blog well is probably a bit more complicated than you might think!
The first time we (Jamie and Tseen) ran this series of workshops, we asked our participants to share what they found the most valuable about the sessions. We compiled a post from their responses; formatted, tagged, proofed, and provided an image for it during the final workshop; and published it! We thought it was important to demonstrate the nitty-gritty processes as well as the broader concepts involved in having a strong blog.
For this post, we asked our participants why they were interested in blogging. Their generous and thoughtful responses appear below, and provide really good insight into the drivers for researchers when it comes to blogging, and sharing their work more generally.
I'm interested in doing this training session because I'm expected to run my research blog as part of my PhD. I've enjoyed making the blog and updating it sporadically, but I've never taken time to learn about what blogs are useful for, or why it's important in my research. I'd like to learn more about research blogs so that I can feel confident about how to improve content and make it more relevant, interesting and effective in achieving its purpose.
I’m interested in blogging because all the cool kids blog - actually, they vlog, but I’m not going near a camera thank you very much. While blogs can be written by anyone on any topic, they are always written by passionate folks. The blogs I enjoy are written by people with a passion for a subject, and use this as a quick and accessible way to share their knowledge.
I once found a book in a second-hand online bookstore with the best title, and I just had to buy it. I looked up the author. His work piqued my interest, and I have actually used his blog in a second year Sociology tutorial to support the Chapter from his book that was required reading for that subject on wealth inequalities.
I was about to say I only occasionally read a couple of blogs but, as I thought about it, I realised I read far more than I realised, nearly all about social justice or study/academia…hang on, a notification just popped up: there is a new ‘Patter’ blogpost. Gotta go!
I am interested in blogging as it is a way to share my professional experiences (gained from my PhD journey, early career researcher journey, and my journey as an academic) with others, via a less formal and much more accessible means, compared to journal article publishing. As such, through blogging, I am able to reach more 'targeted' readers and expand my networks. Apart from that, I enjoy blogging, much more so than formal writing. It comes much more naturally (of course!). There is also the joy of seeing it published almost immediately, as compared to journal article publishing
I have a passion for outreach through SciComm (science communication) that has seen me embrace every opportunity to talk science at the world. My favourite kind of SciComm is with non-specialist audiences; there is nothing more satisfying than imbuing a non-specialist audience with a sense of excitement about what science can do. Blogposts have the flexibility to be witty, engaging, visually beautiful, and inspiring all at once. I believe blogging presents a special opportunity to create a conversation among specialist and non-specialist audiences that has a permanency that oral presentations often lack. They can inspire or start a conversation 3 mins after they are posted, or 3 years down the track.
Blogging provides opportunities to share my research with a wide audience and engage a diverse range of people. It also provides me with a place to reflect and document my work as I go along. Using ethnographic research methods transfers nicely across to a blog, forces me to consider the language I use to talk about what I am doing, and share my story as the research progresses (by building a longitudinal record of data collection progress and tracking my work and thinking as a timeline). It helps in keeping me motivated to reflect and discuss, consider my thoughts and feelings related to my research, as well as sharing interesting snippets of what I find.
I am interested in blogging my research because I think it would be a valuable platform for sharing my research ideas. More importantly, a blog can create a forum for discussion and feedback in order to consider and apply the perspectives of people from different walks of life who share a common interest in improving the lives of people living with dementia and their carers. My work focuses on diversity and improving access and inclusion for all using translational research and engaging with communities, health professionals, and researchers alike.
I’m aiming for a multidimensional, holistic approach, inclusive of the voices of people with lived experience and carers from diverse backgrounds to identify and address barriers to diagnosis and support for people living with dementia and their carers.
As you can see from this varied set of responses, blogging your research can offer many valuable outcomes. It is as much about what the blogger can learn and think through, as much as the content that the posts may be sharing.
We’ll be running this series of three workshops again as an intensive set across three consecutive days: 9-11 November, 12:30-2:30pm each day. If you’re interested, date-save those slots now! They will be open for registration closer to the time and listed on our Workshops page.