on blogging and research

a few days ago, i promised you the fourth instalment of the report on our little research project that explores the thoughts of people who view images of nude or scantily clad anorexic women.

i need a bit more time with that, and today i’d like to share with you my reflections on why.

it has something to do with the tension between blogging and research.

blogging is personal, transparent, just-in-time.

research is impersonal, filtered, and time consuming.

of course, this characterization is simplistic but by and large, i think most people would agree.

so when research occurs in the context of blogging, the blogger (me) finds herself pulled by opposing forces.

as this blogger, even though i point out that this project is not very scientific, i feel my academic training and passion for research shine through. so i just cannot / don’t want to bring myself to write a little piece that just glosses over and perhaps distorts all the interesting and useful information contained in the raw data – after all, only a short while ago, i criticized exactly that!

as a researcher, i also refuse to pull some conclusion out of the hat. as a blogger, on the other hand, i often and comfortably dance on the edge of immediacy (“i have 30 minutes, let’s see what i can cobble together.”)

as a researcher (back to the first hand again), i need time to think, to let ideas and impressions ripen. i guess at some level i must have thought that because this was “just a little not-very-scientific project”, and on my blog to boot, this maturing process could either be left to the side or be dealt with swiftly.

what’s a blogger to do? what’s a researcher to do? one could argue that this situation is not much different from scientific reporting – both the report writing that one engages in after a research project and the reporting that happens in the media ABOUT such projects. and to some degree that’s true.

it’s still different, though, when this happens in the context of blogging. personal, transparent, just-in-time. the fact that it was i, no-one else, who conducted this little study, is much more direct and palpable than even in feminist research, which is already quite centered on the personal. the fact this piece of research was born out of blogging, carried out in the context of blogging, and is now reported on via blogging takes me as a researcher to a raw and new edge that, frankly, surprises me.

so what’s a blogger to do? a blogger writes about it. shares the questions, the process, the learning, the reflection. transparency.

(this post is part of a series of articles:
understanding internet users

anorexia and sex
anorexia and sex: survey results are in
anorexia and sex: survey results, part 2
anorexia and sex: survey results, part 3
anorexia and sex survey: pulling it all together)

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

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