Empirical research and theory

Tanja raises the question of the interconnection and difference between theory, practice, empirical outcomes research and tips in the work on blogging and education. Four blog scholars recently began a discussion on some of these issues. But as the excerpt below indicates this discussion is still in its infancy.

OJR article: Scholars Discover Weblogs Pass Test as Mode of Communication

The blogologists admit that their research is only just beginning. OK, they’re not looking for a cure for cancer, but it would be nice to quantify just how much of an effect blogs are having. Trammell, whose doctoral thesis at the University of Florida was on blogs (yes, she’s a doctor of blogs), says that there haven’t been any breakthrough moments yet for researchers.

“At this point there has been so little published research in the academic journals,” she told me via e-mail. “Most of the research that is readily available (Perseus, Pew Internet) is important, but atheoretical. It gives a good pulse of the average blogger, but not much more. I think we are on the cusp of an exciting time where the theoretical research of blogs will begin to emerge. Now that we have explained blogs and understand them, we can start to make predictions and see how blogs fit into theories and compare to other ways of communicating.”

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