Friday, September 27, 2019

My blog entry that's both a blessing and a curse

One of the most-visited* and most oft-cited** blog entries in this joint is the analysis of the German educational system that I wrote, viewable here. After having published it six years ago, I feel conflicted about leaving it on the blog.

On one hand, it's a quick read and outlines a somewhat convulated subject that people are curious about. Is it comprehensive? No, it's not, at all, but at least gives an idea of how things work here, and in English. Does it bring a lot of visitors to the blog? Yes, it does, though that's not really its purpose. I had just wanted to share something that I had written for a German Life and Culture class.

Conversely, the article is somewhat of a curse. I am an educator in training and spirit (though not exactly in job tile right now). Information literacy is very important to me and I am disturbed that this article is being used as a research source when it's only appropriate to be used for entertainment/enlightenment purposes. I know of at least one high school teacher who used it as a class assignment (based on web analytics linking to the person's page) and the article was even referenced in conference proceedings of the National Defence College in Bangladesh, which didn't really properly reference it other than citing the article in the bibliography.

I won't call out the high school teacher or school but I will mention the Defence College, because the paper mentions the editorial board and based on the amount of authors and the numerous strings of letters after their names, including PhD, those individuals should be well-acquainted with proper academic research and citation and know better than to use a personal blog as a source. The other ironic thing is that they would have seen the disclaimer at the top of the article and the corresponding blog entry outlining why the article isn't an appropriate source.

At this point, I will still leave the article on my blog and hope that people read the clear disclaimer on it. Maybe it'll hit home for at least some people and they'll think more about the research process.

*by real people, not by spammers; those would be other entries, and I have no idea why the entry Fastnacht in July is so popular with them

**or not, by people who use it as a reference and don't give me credit

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