Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Things I've Missed

I've already talked about the new possibilities made available through this research blog as an alternative to more traditional academic writing, as well as some challenges that I've faced throughout the process. One thing I would further like to say is what I've missed in this term away from conventional research writing. First, the all-nighter before the final paper's due. You might think I'm being sarcastic, but I honestly love those super-focused, distraction-free nights where I can fully immerse myself in a paper. When written without breaks or opportunities for the mind to wander, my papers form so much more naturally and smoothly. In this blog I was able to spend much more time exploring and altering my project, but with each post I'd come in with a different mindset, different ideas, and often a different thesis. The fact that I actually miss severe procrastination may be a sign that I've become somewhat addicted to it, and that this blog can be the first step on my path to recovery, but it could also mean that blogging lacks the depth of focus of conventional research papers.

Another thing that I feel these blog projects lack is a clear and strong final result. Although you can insert the same information found in a research paper into a blog, through links and multiple posts, it lacks some of the cohesiveness of a printed paper. This is compounded by the fact that, for the most part, the members of our class were writing these posts separately, and in all cases each post had to be able to stand alone, causing the arguments to lose a lot of their flow and focus. I think it might be more useful to record the writing process on a blog, to allow for collaboration and the spreading of ideas, but to still produce a final result of a conventional Times New Roman double-spaced 12 pt. font printed and stapled paper.

Besides these details, though, I really don't see any ways in which our research blogs are weaker than conventional research papers, and in fact I think the social collaborative aspect that they provide really enhances the writing process, allowing for a freer spread of ideas and a more transparent process. As a whole, I think these projects (you can look at the side of the page to find links to the other students' blogs) have shown that the use of research blogs fully upholds the classroom and university objectives, perhaps even more so than conventional papers because of their added ability to spread information to a greater audience.

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