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III. Academic Blogging: Types of Academic Blog Posts

Oct 03, 2013 by Lee Skallerup Bessette

This might not be the advice you’re hoping to hear, but it’s the truth: Academic blog posts can be whatever you want them to be.

The list of possible blog post topics is endless: Teaching tips/reflections, research-in-progress updates, comments on current events, requests for feedback/resources, work-life balance issues, an entry for an ongoing research journal, a collection of links, a place to record thoughts and reactions during conferences, a way to share your conference presentations, abstracts, slides.

Our academic training conditions us, to a certain extent, to crave clear rules and guidelines when it comes to our work and our writing: a dissertation needs X, a conference presentation Y, a peer-reviewed essay Z. Each genre of academic writing has some pretty hard and fast general rules, as well as discipline-specific requirements. An academic blog post has none of those things. You make your blog post anything you want it to be.

A great example of an academic blogger who has a wide variety of types of blog posts is Dr. Davis at Teaching College English. She targets a variety of audiences too: academics, students, and teachers. Her blog shows the breadth and depth of the kinds of blog posts you can write. The fear is always that if your blog appears to be “unfocused,” it will imply that you, the writer, are unfocused. But as Dr. Davis shows, we wear many hats as academics – teachers, writers, researchers, learners – and it is ok if that comes through in our blogging activity.

As Dr. Davis demonstrates, an academic blog doesn’t have to be just one thing (especially if you’re the sole provider of the content for the blog). You can mix and match various types of posts in order to provide content for your readers, as well as using your blog as a public place to record your thoughts, reactions, reflections, and collections.

Having said that, your academic blog doesn’t have to do everything either. If you want a space to concentrate exclusively on your research and research interests, then that’s fine, too. There are very successful blogs that have a narrow focus and only offer one or two types of blog posts. The most common are “advice” blogs that offer two basic kinds of posts: how-to blog posts and resource blog posts. Your blog, and the posts that provide the content, are for you and can be whatever you want them to be. The possibilities are endless. There are as many different kinds of academic blog posts as there are academic bloggers.
 

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