Integrating technology into every course is now an expected part of the classroom experience, and it extends into the life of a researcher, as well. If you don’t know how to confidently navigate the basics of technology and accept and learn the newest innovations as they are released, you’re going to have a hard time being competitive and producing impactful work during your career.
One of the expectations, both in school and in the field, is that you know how to produce a blog that runs in tandem with your research project. But with the trend shifting to more group-based research rather than individually run experiments, managing a group blog during your project requires a different level of planning and cooperation than you may be used to.
The Benefits of Blogging in Academia
Blogging is a common practice in writing and science courses as students learn how to be researchers, and it’s a recommended medium to continue as an early career researcher and an expert scholar. As the blogger collects their research material, begins to process and analyze it, and comes up with results, they post about this information as it all unfolds. The intent is almost always to generate interest by their followers that will culminate in the eventual use and disbursement of their final article to create a higher impactfulness of the work. Blogging also helps the researcher to keep their findings organized, gives them a way to reflect on their work as it proceeds, and lets readers engage with the author throughout the experiment to get different levels of feedback during the process.
A blog is also a strong addition to any scholar’s portfolio and curriculum vitae. Blogs can be archived for long-term access, so even your old, obsolete work can be used to showcase your experience and expertise.
The Challenges of Running a Group Blog
Every academic blog requires a lot of forethought unless you have a rubric that tells you exactly what you need to write about, how long it needs to be, and which sources you must use. With group blogging, it isn’t usually as cut and dried. Your team may know the topic - it’s your research experiment, after all - but agreeing on the details is another story.
First, you must all agree as to how to break up the tasks involved in creating and managing the blog. This will require an analysis of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, and the willingness of the individual to step in and use their abilities for the good of the group.
Next, the topic is a broad one, but what will the blog actually contain? How will the research you are all doing be broken down and shared with the readers of your blog? Will it be disseminated in milestones, steps of the project, or after everything is completed and then divided into sections? How long will each blog be? These are all points that must be decided and agreed upon by everyone in the group.
Another challenge to running the blog is how everyone will receive credit for their work. Just as when you publish a co- or multi-authored paper, the list of how the authors’ names will be ordered is important to agree upon beforehand.
Managing Your Group Blog
When a blog becomes a major aspect of your academic research project, there are multiple factors you and your team must agree on for it to be successful. As you work together, take these steps to manage the blog as a group:
● Decide upon the topic and the way it will be broken down into smaller pieces, as well as the length of each blog.
● Determine the audience and the tone of the writing.
● Break down a list of who is responsible for each blog.
● Make sure everyone is in agreement as to what is and is not allowed to be discussed. The point is to entice readers to follow your work and then read the final paper, not to know everything that happens beforehand. Some information should be confidential.
● Create a timeline of due dates for your experiment and then use that timeline to set the dates for your blog posts to be released.