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Blogs in Research

These extracts are taken from a report written by Paul Anderson for the Joint Information Systems Committee in the United Kingdom. JISC's activities support education and research by promoting innovation in new technologies and by the central support of ICT services.

“Although evidence is only anecdotal, blogging seems to be becoming more popular with researchers of all disciplines in order to engage in peer debate, share early results or seek help on experimental issues (Skipper, 2006). However, it has had no serious review of its use in higher education (Placing, 2005). Butler (2005) argues that blogging tends to be used by younger researchers and that many of these make use of anonymous names to avoid being tracked back to their institutions. Some disciplines are so fast-moving, or of sufficient public interest, that this kind of quick publishing is required (Butler cites climate change as one example)."

"There has also been a trend towards collective blogs (Varmazis, 2006) such as ScienceBlog sand RealClimate, in which working scientists communicate with each other and the public, as well as blog-like, peer-reviewed sites such as Nature Protocols. These tools provide considerable scope to widen the audience for scientific papers and to assist in the process of public understanding of science and research (Amsen, 2006). Indeed, Alison Ashlin and Richard Ladle (2006), argue that scientists need to get involved in the debates that are generated across the blogosphere where science discussions take place. These tools also have the potential to facilitate communication between researchers and practitioners who have left the university environment."

Anderson, P. (2007). What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education (pp. 1-64): Joint Information Systems Committee. Retrieved July 15th 2009 from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/techwatch/tsw0701b.pdf

Blog Use in Research


  • Maintain a private online diary of your research progress. This diary will be available to you anywhere at any time as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Maintain a personal diary of your research progress that you share with your research group. Your research group will be able to comment on your blog entries providing you with feedback.
  • Maintain a personal diary that you share with your research subjects. This may sound a bit odd but, for example, you may be conducting research in the area of public health and you can share your progress with the research subjects.
  • Maintain a research diary that you share with collaborators who are geographically dispersed. If you're sitting in New Zealand you can quickly and easily share your day to day progress with collaborators anywhere in the world.
  • Use a blog as a more formal way to record your research progress. The blog will be available to you anywhere and at any time. A blog can be archived or backed up to your local system so you will always have a copy.