Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blogging - Dissertation - Theory to Practice


One main benefit blogging can provide young researchers is that it can act as an outlet to test new theories or associations between differing constructs. Coverdale (2012) highlights on slide #12, in his slideshare presentation on Social media practices: Benefits and risks for doctoral researchers, the cyclical relationship between one's blog and one's thesis. Blogging can provide the reflective tool to organize your thoughts for your dissertation.
People who follow your blog and comment on your thoughts and ideas are identified as being part of your Personal Learning Network (PLN). Those who make up your PLN help to keep you on track and provide the peer pressure to help you finish your dissertation (Pasquini, 2013). As Larive (2013) highlighted in her blog post How Blogging Helped Me Write my Dissertation: "blogging has allowed me to face my ghosts, build up a network of contacts, and advance faster through the process of writing my dissertation" (p. 1). 
From the vast variety of content available on academic associated blogs I tend to try to keep my content on the following few items. The items that I list here are just a few of the content items that Cloverdale (2012) identified, my list is a modified/condensed version of his original list:
Reports on academic events, including workshops, seminars, and conferences.
Book and article reviews.
Research methods and methodologies, and academic writing.
Using research tools and software.
Development of theoretical and conceptual ideas.
Professional development (p. 2).
One item that I would add to this list, and one item that I try to focus on whenever I submit a blog, is to connect 'theory to practice'. I try to identify the So-What Factor, how research and theory relates to, or can be applied to, everyday work and/or life issues.
Blogging can help make new connections as well as provide a medium to challenge your ideas and your research. Cloverdale (2012) posed: "Academics are increasingly under pressure to engage with wider academic (and non-academic) audiences and articulate the relevance of their research in relation to wider societal issues and prescribed 'real-world' problems" (p. 4). Academic blogs can help: 
1) close the gap between academia and the practitioner world, 
2) shed light on societal issues, and
3) provide a means of personal development for the blogger and those associated to the blogger's PLN.
References:
Cloverdale, A. (Dec. 2012): The benefits of social media for doctoral researchers. Paper presented at the conference of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), Wales, UK.
Cloverdale, A. (Dec. 2012). Social media practices: Benefits and risks for doctoral researchers. #srheconf12 Presentation. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/andycoverdale/social-media-practices-benefits-and-risks-for-doctoral-researchers
Larive, M. (Jan. 29, 2013). How blogging helped me write my dissertation. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Blogging-Helped-Me-Write/136893/
Pasquini, L. (Feb. 19, 2013). Re: How-Blogging-Helped-Me-Write [Web log comment]. 

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