The other day I read an interesting post in A Replicated Typo about the role of blogs in scientific research. We could be debating this issue for hours, even days, without really reaching any kind of conclusion, but at least one thing seems true: the interaction between popular science and formal scientific discourse is now at a different level, and that's interesting. This reminds me of a quote by archaeologist Catherine Hills (2007: 18): "Popular presentations, because simplified for clarity, often show more immediately the outlines and implications of an argument which may be nuanced, modified, even fudged, in scholarly writing". And she's quite right.
Who knows? Maybe blogs are already playing an important role in redefining scientific practices and discourse. I have been publishing posts in this blog for more than two years and now I am also working on my own dissertation about historical linguistics, so I am in an intermediate position between those two spheres. In my case, there is no doubt that the blogging experience has influenced the way I approach the task of researching. The problem, now, is time. I have a full-time job as a teacher and a full dissertation to write, which means I will probably have to stop blogging, or at least I will not be able to publish long elaborate posts for some time. We'll see.
- Hills, Catherine (2007). "Anglo-Saxon attitudes", in N. Higham, ed., Britons in Anglo-Saxon England. Rochester: The Boydell Press.