Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blogging and research

This week I went to a local conference: Spotlight on Territory Teaching and and Learning, and there I met the team from Ako Aotearoa, which is a body that funds research into teaching and learning. I have a couple of ideas about projects and hope to apply for funding, so my next step is to start formulating a more structured plan about what I want to do.

Blogging my ideas
My natural inclination is to start blogging about my ideas because the blogging process will help me get things straight in my head; generate a record of my processes for my ePortfolio and hopefully attract feedback and peer review that will improve my ideas (and thus increase my chances of a successful application). As Alexandre Enkerli says in his blog post Blogging Academe, hashing out ideas on a blog allows you to access perspectives outside your immediate disciple. This is particularly important because I want to carry out projects that are transferable from midwifery to other health disciplines.

Research competition
The problem with openly blogging about research ideas before you have the funding is the danger that someone else may steal your ideas, and go into competition against you. However, Hugh McGuire believes that blogging about your research 'protects' your ideas - after all, blogging is publishing, even if it is self-publishing as opposed to journal publishing. Once your ideas are published, you have the evidence of your blog and your readers to verify where and how your ideas developed.

Naive or ground-breaking?
I am not 100% sold on this - I know how academia works when it comes to research, funding and outputs. Academics' jobs and careers depend on the funding they receive for research so people are very protective of their research and ideas. At the same time, attitudes and practices are not going to change if people do not take a stand and show the way.

Ideas for research
The two ideas I have that I would like to develop are:
  1. the program of free online seminars that I have been providing for midwives. This program merits further development and evaluation;
  2. support of midwives in developing their ePortfolios using freely available platforms as opposed to propitiatory software. At the moment there is a lot of interest in ePortfolios for midwives, but nothing concrete has been put in place. I would like to evaluate how feasible it is for midwives, and any health professional, to develop their ePortoflio in an open format such as a blog or wiki.
There are my two ideas - what I need to do now is frame them up so they fit the criteria for Ako Aotearoa funding. The main snag I can see for both ideas is that they involve health professionals, not students. To fit the funding criteria, I would probably have to adapt the ideas to students, undergraduate or postgraduate, and I'm not too sure that is really what I would want to do - it is professional development/life-long learning/vocational learning that I am especially interested in.

Any thoughts about this issue?

Image: 'Exploring an idea' JJay

1 comment:

Leigh Blackall said...

yes, I think you should ask them to pay you to blog. Who needs more papers and great un reads! Blog it... make them pay to do it. Is more efficient and more authentic