Saturday, June 9, 2012

Welcome Back to Myself

As I was anticipating what I would write in this blog post reflecting on the differences between traditional research papers and the kind I've been doing on this blog, I felt a sense of relief. I found myself thinking, I'm so glad I'll get to be myself on the blog again. 

Then I wondered why exactly this kind of writing is more me than my research paper and drafts. I mean, I put my blood, sweat, and tears into that research paper (figuratively, of course...). And I really believed in it, too. I may have cared more about that research paper and felt like it was more relevant to others and to me than any other research paper I've ever written. So why doesn't it feel more like me?

For me, that's the heart of the difference between traditional research papers and the non-traditional methods I've been using for my research. The element of the personal in blogging is so important. It gets me excited and it keeps others interested. I'm allowed to be a person, not just a cool, collected, objective third party. I don't have to have the entire thing mapped out, the organization completely precise, and my sentences completely logical.

That's not to say that that kind of writing isn't useful. Sometimes it's very important to be formal and impersonal. Sometimes people don't care about who I am and what I think; they just want to see well-presented facts. So, of course, being able to write that way is valuable. However, in our world, most people don't have any interest in logically presented facts unless there is a strong element of the personal. If I don't seem personally invested in the subject matter, then why should they be invested in it? And if they don't know who I am, why should they care about the things I care about?

After I had come to really appreciate the power of the personal in research methods, it was hard to go back to the cold formality of the traditional research paper. In some ways, though, it was sort of nice to go back. I'm the sort of person who appreciates a well-constructed sentence and organization that makes sense. I like to have a product to look back on and admire.

But I also missed being able to put myself more into what I was writing. I hope that my passion for the topic carried through in the final draft of the paper, but I know that even if it did it certainly wasn't at the same level it was in my previous blog posts.

I'm excited to apply what I've learned about new research methods to my future writing. I honestly don't think I'll ever be able to completely go back to doing it the way I used to. I hope I don't.

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