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Doing blog research

Bruns, Axel & Burgess, Jean E. (2012) Doing blog research. In Arthur, James, Waring, Michael, Coe, Robert, & Hedges, Larry V. (Eds.) Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. SAGE Publications Ltd, Washington DC, United States of Amercia, pp. 202-209.

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    Abstract

    Blogs and other online platforms for personal writing such as LiveJournal have been of interest to researchers across the social sciences and humanities for a decade now. Although growth in the uptake of blogging has stalled somewhat since the heyday of blogs in the early 2000s, blogging continues to be a major genre of Internet-based communication. Indeed, at the same time that mass participation has moved on to Facebook, Twitter, and other more recent communication phenomena, what has been left behind by the wave of mass adoption is a slightly smaller but all the more solidly established blogosphere of engaged and committed participants. Blogs are now an accepted part of institutional, group, and personal communications strategies (Bruns and Jacobs, 2006); in style and substance, they are situated between the more static information provided by conventional Websites and Webpages and the continuous newsfeeds provided through Facebook and Twitter updates. Blogs provide a vehicle for authors (and their commenters) to think through given topics in the space of a few hundred to a few thousand words – expanding, perhaps, on shorter tweets, and possibly leading to the publication of more fully formed texts elsewhere. Additionally, they are also a very flexible medium: they readily provide the functionality to include images, audio, video, and other additional materials – as well as the fundamental tool of blogging, the hyperlink itself. Indeed, the role of the link in blogs and blog posts should not be underestimated. Whatever the genre and topic that individual bloggers engage in, for the most part blogging is used to provide timely updates and commentary – and it is typical for such material to link both to relevant posts made by other bloggers, and to previous posts by the present author, both to background material which provides readers with further information about the blogger’s current topic, and to news stories and articles which the blogger found interesting or worthy of critique. Especially where bloggers are part of a larger community of authors sharing similar interests or views (and such communities are often indicated by the presence of yet another type of link – in blogrolls, often in a sidebar on the blog site, which list the blogger’s friends or favourites), then, the reciprocal writing and linking of posts often constitutes an asynchronous, distributed conversation that unfolds over the course of days, weeks, and months. Research into blogs is interesting for a variety of reasons, therefore. For one, a qualitative analysis of one or several blogs can reveal the cognitive and communicative processes through which individual bloggers define their online identity, position themselves in relation to fellow bloggers, frame particular themes, topics and stories, and engage with one another’s points of view. It may also shed light on how such processes may differ across different communities of interest, perhaps in correlation with the different societal framing and valorisation of specific areas of interest, with the socioeconomic backgrounds of individual bloggers, or with other external or internal factors. Such qualitative research now looks back on a decade-long history (for key collections, see Gurak, et al., 2004; Bruns and Jacobs, 2006; also see Walker Rettberg, 2008) and has recently shifted also to specifically investigate how blogging practices differ across different cultures (Russell and Echchaibi, 2009). Other studies have also investigated the practices and motivations of bloggers in specific countries from a sociological perspective, through large-scale surveys (e.g. Schmidt, 2009). Blogs have also been directly employed within both K-12 and higher education, across many disciplines, as tools for reflexive learning and discussion (Burgess, 2006).

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    ID Code: 49821
    Item Type: Book Chapter
    Additional Information: Book Description Using a variety of methodological approaches and research techniques in education, this book provides students with the theoretical understandings, practical knowledge and skills which they need to carry out independent research. The editors bring together an array of international contributors, all of whom identify key research methodologies, data collection tools and analysis methods, and focus on the direct comparisons between them. The chapters cover the full range of methods and methodologies, including internet research, mixed methods research, and the various modes of ethnographic research. Online support materials include tips on how to use the book, and links to useful websites, societies and research organizations.
    Keywords: blog, blogging, research, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis
    ISBN: 97808570203890
    Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
    Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
    Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
    Current > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
    Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 SAGE Publications Ltd
    Copyright Statement: Editorial material copyright the editors James Arthur, Michael Waring, Robert J. Coe and Larry V. Hedges 2012; Chapter 28 copyright Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess 2012
    Deposited On: 24 Apr 2012 11:41
    Last Modified: 07 Sep 2012 02:09

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