Academic blogs focus on professional, rather than personal topics, by expressing an explicit connection between the content of the blog, research activities, analyses and scientific studies regarding the topic of the text and academic opinions. The best blogs usually contain the following:
- Relevance – The published texts should be clearly linked to a current event, a decision or a debate concerning issues of public interest;
- A clear argument – Blogs are short formats and they are most effective when they focus on one clear argument or point and when they are not stretched over a vast number of issues. If you want to elaborate on more than one point, you can write separate blog posts;
- An informal style – Blogs are most often direct and informal, the purpose being to reach as wide an audience as possible. This can be taken as a writing style that is more journalistic than academic, although key points are also very effective in blogs for simple and clear communication.
- Research – The best blogs are based on research evidence, or references to an academic theory that is relevant in current debates, although it should be presented in a way that is understandable to a non-academic audience. We recommend that you avoid using too many acronyms and academic terms, such as words in Latin or a terminology that is so specific that it is incomprehensible to people who do not come from that field of science;
- Solid use of evidence – The claims contained in the blog posts must be based on evidence from your research or research of other individuals or organizations. Hyperlinks that lead to longer research papers, reports, databases, examples of situations or cases that you are discussing in your blog can be very useful for supporting the claims and arguments that you provide. Make sure you do not rely too heavily on information found in external sources, since it is your independent text;
- Follow-up reading – Blog posts are often a possibility to guide whoever is interested in the topic to links leading to additional sources where people can read more about the topic. This can allow for more people to see your work or the work of your colleagues;
Blogs should have a clear structure and an easy flow, i.e. they should be written in short paragraphs, in an understandable and informal style. The posts should contain between 900 and 1300 words.
Ideally, the first paragraph should identify the main argument and the relevance regarding current debates. You should start your discussion directly on topic, avoiding introductory phrases such as: “In this paper, I will…”, or “The purpose of this document is to…”
Several paragraphs should follow, divided in two to three short segments with subtitles to support the argument. Use short paragraphs, consisted of four or five sentences. If it is necessary, include numbering or bullets before the paragraphs for emphasis.
The end is a short conclusion that strengthens the arguments and possibly offers suggestions.
Use a narrative title, i.e. a sentence that sums up the main argument of the article. The more descriptive and appealing the title is, the higher the probability that the blog will be read. Avoid using questions (“How can the crisis in the Euro-zone be resolved in Europe?”) or general topics (“Democracy in Macedonia”). Here are a few examples of good titles: “Macedonian journalism is truly the losing side in the elections in Macedonia” or “EU’s pale influence in Macedonia is weakening the process of democratic reforms in the country”. Try to keep the title under 15 words, fewer if possible.
Although evidence is important, normal academic references are not used in blogs. Instead, hyperlinks are used so you can make a cross-reference to the topic you are covering. The hyperlinks can lead to documents, pieces of legislation, journalistic reports, research papers, other blogs or reports, however free-access sources are preferred to contents that require payment. For example:
“According to their Digital Single Marker Strategy, the Commission should start a separate estimation of the platforms and online intermediaries by the end of this year”.
Footnotes should be used only in extreme situations and very rarely. If the information is necessary, then it should usually be integrated in the text.
Graphics and images
- Diagrams and images are very useful for blogs. Graphs and diagrams are better than tables, since they are easier to be interpreted by the readers. In any case, we ask that you send us the unprocessed data for your diagram, table or image in Excel format.
- Each diagram should have a clearly marked title, labels for axes X and Y or histogram lines, including unit measures and a readable scale or background coordinates.
- Each diagram or image should clearly identify the source, even in cases when the author is the source.
- There should be a clear key that differentiates most of the data series and provides a short note on the sources. The lines must be sufficiently thick and individually coloured. Diagrams should be made with numeric progressions, so that comparisons are more visible
- The author can provide all kinds of photographs or video image captures, however it must be clear that he/she has the right to use them. They must belong to the author or must be licensed for free distribution, or a different type of permission to use the image must be obtained. In the text below the image there must be information about the author.
Personal information and photograph
All authors should also submit a portrait photograph and a biography written in two to three lines, which will be presented on the contributors’ site, with links to your websites or social media profiles that you would like to include.