A blog for research subjects?

The idea of having a blog that is available to the community I hope to research was suggested by my supervisor the other week. It is something I keep thinking about.

My reflections include

  • nearly nobody will read it anyway
  • even negative responses to my research obtained through the blog would be fascinating
  • it will help mitigate against ‘selective representation’ of my project
  • it could be a tool for being conscious of my accountability/ lack of accountability to the community I am drawing data from
  • if I attracted any interested people from the community to the blog it could become a way for my research to be more collaborative
  • what a great opportunity to take even more of a ‘whole of life’ approach
  • blogging is proving itself to me to be a great way to practice how to express ideas

I do have some concerns such as

  • do I then have a responsibility to get the same information out into the community in a way accessible to those who do not use the internet?
  • am I going to need to give the ethics committee a precise run down of what is going to be ‘said’ on the blog?
  • could an issue that arises as a result of me having such a blog bring down the rest of my research project?
  • am I really able to write in ‘plain language’ all the time? Will I end up slipping into my true ultra-geek self and alienate any reader?
  • if people post comments using their real names and I also get similar information from them in other parts of my research can I then not use those comments as somebody would be able to search for the text, find the blog online and then link the comments with the person’s name?
  • will I then need to remove the other online presences I have (social networking etc) as there is no way I can separate my real life identity from such a blog and I will not be even trying to get ethics committee approval to do something like friend my informants on sites like Facebook with their lack of data security and their ownership of the data.

So far no luck finding any articles where somebody has tried this, but that is probably because I have not looked very hard yet. Anybody have any thoughts?

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