Beyond blahblah – blogging as PhD research

Berlin6, the conference on Open Content and Open Access, was held this time (2008) in Dusseldorf, which was quite comfortable for me since I live there. I only had time to watch a few presentations, but the most impressive one was Lilia Efimova’s speech.

Not only did she hit me with the simple yet effectiv grafics in her presentation, she also left an impression with her topic. While she is actually investigating the possibilities of blogging in research contexts she does exactly the same – blogging in the course of her PhD research.

Basically, she describes three phases:

  1. Blog entries are used for things that do not fit somehow, but feel important enough to be kept and might fit some time later.
    Blog entries are „parked“ in a trusted external repository.
  2. In the second phase the research and blogging starts with an everyday grounded theory (contrary to a scholarly grounded one).
    The blog is usable every day, it is interactive and thus helps to develop new ideas  and with its categorization system it supports the research.
  3. The final scientific blogging phase is charactarised by writing a first draft. This, said Lilia, is easier to do than the usual summary, and can just be one paragraph.
    Fragmented bits become manageable chunks, the audience is real and interactively giving feedback.

This is only my personal summary from Lilia’s speech. She also discussed such inevitable topics as attribution and the safety of your scientific research. What happens with your work if you publish it online before you have finished and published it in the usual ways our Alma Mater demands? May your brilliant ideas be stolen? Have you attributed others, other bloggers e.g., sufficiently and adequate? Will your PhD thesis be accepted although parts of it have been published online before? Such and others are the questions scientists still have to persue and answer.

You can watch her presentation yourself. Enjoy and lets think on. Lilia’s work is groundbraking for new ways of academic research techniques.

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