Of course I want to make my research more accessible to a broader (non-academic) audience, but I also have rather selfish reasons for blogging (isn’t intrinsic motivation the best to keep going?). Here are my three main reasons to blog about my new research project (see here for 35 – and counting! – reasons to blog about your research):
1. To organize my thoughts. Mark Carrigan blogs here why he finds blogging so helpful:
It forces me to think-through-writing in a way which I just can’t replicate unless I know people will be reading what I write. If I write notes by hand they tend to be incomprehensible and pretty useless if and when I attempt to come back to them.
I am definitely someone who thinks through writing. My notes and scribbles are beyond incomprehensible already at this stage and I am yet to begin this project. Like Mark Carrigan I also plan to blog about books that I am currently reading hoping that I will keep track of what I am reading more effectively.
2. To write. Through writing blogs for Leiden Law Blog every now and then I have experienced that blogging also helps me to overcome occasional fear for writing (that is, not knowing where to start, fear for writing stupid or superfluous things, taking way too long writing up something rather simple). Howard Becker’s book Writing for Social Scientists helped me a great deal when I was writing my PhD thesis, I hope this blog will do the same for this project.
3. To reflect. I want to use this blog to reflect on my own experience of class difference and how this relates to my interpretation of deviant and criminal behaviour. The idea to write ‘auto-ethnographic notes’ is inspired by the article ‘Gentrifier? Who me?’ written by John Joe Schlichtman and Jason Patch (see also here for an accessible article about their article), who call for urban scholars to interrogate their own experience as gentrifiers in relation to researching gentrification. Seems to me that a study on class differences requires personal reflection; this will be an experiment to reflect in public (please be honest but gentle).
Cartoon found here