Thursday, June 17, 2010

Conventional Research Paper Versus Blog

General Feelings
Overall I think that a blog format allows you to introduce media that it would be difficult to provide in a research paper.  You might be able to cite a video and tell where to find it in a traditional research paper, but if you are doing research on something that is media heavy it is going to become cumbersome very quickly.

However, there is an advantage to focus when you are writing a traditional paper.  When you write a paper you have the reasonable expectation of the reader reading through the entire piece and seeing how all of it connects directly, as do you.  A blog is more fragmented, meaning that it is more difficult to complete or even see a single unifying argument that links everything together.  There is, however, the advantage of being able to focus on a very specific topic, or even to have a more gradual introduction of each topic through an epigraph.

Personal Experience
If you are a paranoid student like me, having a less set form is both a curse and a blessing.  You do not have to worry as much about staying completely on topic, a blog lets you explore facets of your paper that are not necessarily directly relevant.  A blog also allows you to tie in personal experience to provide perspective to your reader.  It also means that you constantly worry whether you have done enough, if the format is correct, you worry about fulfilling criterion even though you are not entirely sure what they are yet. 

However, there is some difficulty in not being somewhat fragmented as a class.  The internet is constantly changing, that means for any class that approaches writing in this way it will be by necessity a more dynamic class than we are used to.  This is good and bad.  We can imagine an education system in the future that is constantly dynamic to imitate the real world, but then do we really focus properly on what we need to learn.  I don't have an answer to this problem, but it will likely be something that we will have to deal with more in the future. 

I did feel that this class was a better preparation for the real world, and wonder if there should be a generally required class that focuses on using the internet for research, socializing, blogging, etc...

For doing this class in the future, I do feel that the blog should be introduced on day one, especially if it is spring or summer.  We will also want a somewhat more explicit set of criterion for how the blogs are to be written, though if it is too rigid we might as well be writing a formal paper.  I think that is what I am seeing most; there needs to be a balance of freedom that the blog environment provides and the structure of a class and scholarly research.  I think that we should also start contacting people about our blog as soon as we have a somewhat set target for the blog.  We waited until it was a bit late to emphasize it in the semester and it should be done earlier.

However, let me be the first to say that even though I have a hard time with social media, etc..., that I thoroughly enjoyed this approach to our class.  I think that this type of class should definitely continue into the future, just with a little bit more definition (Yes yes, I know, we were a pilot group).

Andrew Morris

(Image came from the

No comments:

Post a Comment