Blogs are increasingly advocated as a solution for academics seeking to expand their audiences, create networks and write in more reader friendly styles. As a result, more and more academics are being urged to blog within official discourses of appropriate academic behaviour.
However, what academics really use blogging for is the focus of new research by Inger Mewburn, The Australian National University, and Pat Thomson, School of Education, The University of Nottingham, published in a special issue of Studies in Higher Education.
In a content analysis of 100 academic blogs, Mewburn and Thomson found that far from tapping in to new audiences, networks, and ways of writing, academics endeup writing for each other in 'virtual staff rooms' where information and advice to other practitioners is shared in a hybrid public/private community.
"It does seem clear that the issues identified by advocates as worthy of address are largely not those of concern to our 100 bloggers."
Mewburn and Thomson note that "academic blogging is increasingly of interest to institutions and this may challenge some of the current practices we have recorded… there is still much to learn about academic blogging practices."
- Inger Mewburn, Pat Thomson. Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges. Studies in Higher Education, 2013; 38 (8): 1105 DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2013.835624
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