Blogs and other online platforms for personal writing such as LiveJournal have been of interest to researchers across the social sciences and humanities for a decade now. Although growth in the uptake of blogging has stalled somewhat since the heyday of blogs in the early 2000s, blogging continues to be a major genre of Internet-based communication. Indeed, at the same time that mass participation has moved on to Facebook, Twitter, and other more recent communication phenomena, what has been left behind by the wave of mass adoption is a slightly smaller but all the more solidly established blogosphere of engaged and committed participants. Blogs are now an accepted part of institutional, group, and personal communications strategies (Bruns and Jacobs, 2006); in style and substance, they are situated between the more static information provided by conventional Websites and Webpages and the continuous newsfeeds provided through Facebook and Twitter updates. Blogs provide a vehicle for authors (and their commenters) to think through given topics in the space of a few hundred to a few thousand words – expanding, perhaps, on shorter tweets, and possibly leading to the publication of more fully formed texts elsewhere. Additionally, they are also a very flexible medium: they readily provide the functionality to include images, audio, video, and other additional materials – as well as the fundamental tool of blogging, the hyperlink itself.
This chapter appeared in the Sage collection Research Methods & Methodologies in Education edited by James Arthur, Michael Waring, Robert Coe, and Larry V. Hedges. This version (59) is a pre-print edition of the chapter.