research as play

When I was a kid, people asked me what my dad was doing, and I used to say “Dad is playing physicist.” Most people thought the answer was cute, with the possible exception of my dad, a physics prof.

Now that I am a professor, I am tempted to think I was right. We are all playing: playing roles of researchers, teachers, administrators, counsellors, …

Admitting that I had to “play” prof helped me when I was new in the job, but I would have never admitted it publicly back then, at 26. Now it’s different. I have tenure. It’s okay for me to admit that research is play, that I enjoy it, am occasionally frustrated by it, and that I love the role playing that is part of my job. Here, I said it.

The point of the blog is to not only talk about research (and play), but also blog it right here. Talking, blogging, doing. This means blogging snippets of ideas, roadblocks, puzzles, and see other people do research, stumble, pick themselves up again, and write great stuff. Don’t just show us the finished work, let us all be part of the process.

One place where research in progress is blogged is the site for our research project Hate 2.0: Combating Right-Wing Extremism in the Age of Social Technology. I am posting some of my in-progress thoughts there. But not all of my work is in this field, and this site is open to research play in progress from different places.

So here’s the invitation: think about how cool it would be if you scribbled some thoughts about data, theories, approaches, whatever involving your research not only in your notebook, but on a blog? Let’s see how messy and creative we all are! I’ll start, no problem. If you would like to join me, please let me know!

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