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English 317: Cross Cultural Literatures and Contexts: Blogs

This guide will help students of English 317 (Cross cultural Literatures and Contexts) find and evaluate relevant print and electronic resources for their class discussions, papers, and projects.

Can Blogs be Used for Research?

Blogs are fast becoming an integral part of college writing. Many instructors require students to write weekly blogs. Blogs are a brief, personal means of practical communication providing immediate audience and immediate feedback or comments to responses. Blogs are primary sources of information and can be reliable but some are more credible than others. Blogs from organizational sites like the Wall Stree Journal or the New York Times are more credible than personal blogs. But while many blogs are interesting, in general, they are informal and lack the depth of thought and content that you would find in journal articles. All blogs should be treated as popular rather than scholarly sources.

Any source that contains personal opinions and theories that are not backed up by scholarly sources should be treated with skeptcism. The following criteria should be taken into account while evaluating blogs:

Who is the blogger? Is this person an expert in the field? Has this person written many blogs?

Is the content adequately covered?

Have others commented on the blog? Are the comments positive or negative? 

Is the blog current? Is there an archive?

Is the blog free from bias? Does it consider other points of view?

Is it grammatically correct and free of spelling errors?

Can the ideas presented be researched further to provide more valuable information to users?

Here's a blog from The Washington Post about the initial reception of  Things Fall Apart. It is well-wtitten, it's a blog from a reputed newspaper and it is possible to contact the author of the blog if you have questions about the blog.

By contrast, here is a detailed chapter by chapter blog by Barbara M, a student in the United States, whose contact information is not given. The blog is merely a summary of the book, has spelling errors, and lacks style.

As always, check with your instructor about using blogs. If blogs are allowed apply the web evaluation criteria to ensure they are reliable and credible.

Literature Librarian

Winnie Shyam's picture
Winnie Shyam
Contact:
122G Buley Library
(203) 392-5762
Shyamw1@southernct.edu