Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Evaluation of Andrew's Blog

In this post I will evaluate my classmate Andrew's blog,"literally a literature blog, figuratively speaking," according to Dr. Gideon Burton's Criteria for Evaluating Research Blogs. I'll look at a total of 6 of Dr. Burton's criteria, 3 area's where Andrew excelled and 3 where he could improve.

Excellence
  • Personality: Andrew's blog definitely show's his personality. He most effectively does this by beginning many of his posts by recounting personal experiences which he then relates to his research topic. Andrew's post about Terror and Awe in the Sublime is a good example of this.
  • Media: Andrew does a great job of integrating other media into his blog. Every post has at least one picture or video. The pictures and videos are relevant to his topic and he does a good job of introducing them.
  • Analysis: All of Andrew's posts are not just commentary or personal opinion; he often analyzes sections of Emily Dickinson's poems, like in his post Sickness, Zombies, and the Sublime.
Room for Improvement
  • Focus/Cohesion: This is probably the area where Andrew could use the most improvement. Although many of his posts deal with the general topics of Emily Dickinson or the Sublime, he never actually states a clear argument, and thus his posts sometimes seem random or disjointed.
  • Community: Although Andrew made a few comments on others' blogs, the ones that I looked through only had 1, if any, comment from him the whole semester. Even Kathrine, who is also researching the Sublime, only had one comment from Andrew.
  • Links: Most of Andrew's posts include few links. The the links that are present are rarely semantically relevant, but just say "here," as in Andrew's post about Cohesion in Purpose.
Evaluating the Criteria

I think Dr. Burton's criteria are a good guide to effective research blogging and were useful for evaluating Andrew's blog. However, I think some of his criteria overlap. For example, "focus" and "cohesion" seem to be very closely related, and if somebody is doing well in one of those areas they are likely doing well in the other. The same goes for "Community" and "Interactivity." I think the criteria could be improved by combining some areas to make the list shorter and more precise.

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