Friday, 31 May 2013

What is this blog for? Thoughts to the ether

Classified as: reflective journal - blog

When I first had the idea of this blog, I was having to make some changes to the project. Rather than writing or emailing everyone, I thought it would be better to set up a blog for information. Then I could just send a link by email or text when I needed to do an update.

After I decided to set it up, my supervisor suggested it could be interesting to use comments as part of my data, so I included an (open) comment function. It's a public blog so anyone can comment. As the blurb says, comments may form part of the research, but they won't be linked to any individuals. Rather I see comments as providing background information about the way people think and talk about health, equity and sustainability.

In order to make the changes to the project, I had to organise a lot of things and get approval from the Monash human research ethics committee. And in order to do that I had to inform participants about the changes before the blog went live anyway. (The Project tab outlines what the major changes were and I might comment a bit more about the impact of them in a later blog.)

So now I've been thinking more about what the purpose of the blog is and what it can do. The main things I'm thinking are:
- providing information about the project and its progress (that's still the basic purpose even though hopefully there won't be so much change in future)
- as this is a participatory action research project, the blog can also be a way to share ideas
- I can float some of the  themes and ideas that are coming out of the focus groups and interviews get  feedback on them
- sharing ideas about resources and good practice (I haven't had any response to my earlier request about this yet, but I already know several examples and hope to get them up soon)

Also I guess - random thoughts and observations. There are some really interesting blogs on the web and I find quirky personal ones quite fascinating (like blue milk, a blog about motherhood and feminism - you can google it if you're interested). I might include some more diverse links on the front page in future - at the moment the links are specifically related to the research. Although I think those websites are interesting, they're not really quirky or out there.

Part of the data for my research is a reflective journal I'm keeping (I've been a bit slack on this lately).  So I thought maybe some of that could go on here sometimes - random thoughts and reflections, spin-off ideas. I've always wanted to write in a way that's interesting as well as academically sound, so maybe that will help. On the other hand, it may just come across as wordy and self-absorbed! I honestly don't know.

Hopefully too some comments will eventually land here? I always find comments interesting on the web (though some of them make me despair).

When I first started to write this post I was going to call it thinking aloud, but of course that's not what you do on the web. It's more like putting a message in a bottle, or sending your carrier pigeon off - throwing your thoughts to the ether. So here they go ...

(Next time some information about where the project's up to)

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