patter’s year

Patter is about to have a little break from blogging. Not for long. Just a few days. Patter will be back in the New Year on Monday January 5th.

In the last post for 2014 it’s time to have a look back at Patter’s year.

This year I posted 124 times. With each post generally being somewhere between 800-900 words, that’s around the 100,000 word mark – or a bit more than your average scholarly monograph.

Patter had close to three quarters of a million views this year, and that number doesn’t include people who subscribe by email or RSS. Of course, many people look at more than one post when they visit the blog, and a lot are repeat visitors. However, it’s hardly a stretch to claim that the Patter blog gets a lot more readers than any of the books or journal articles I’ve written. Hardly surprising then that, like most bloggers, I argue that blogging is a great way to get your stuff and yourself out and about.

The most common referral to Patter is from search engines – 150,000 or so referrals during the year. But there were another 50,000 or so referrals which came direct from Twitter. This connection supports the view that it is the combination of activity on social media that produces readership, rather than engagement in a single platform.

The majority of Patter readers come from countries where English is widely spoken. The top ten readerships are – in descending order – in the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Germany, Ireland, South Africa and Malaysia. This distribution is to be expected, but I am turning my mind to how to reach beyond the most obvious places. I am thinking about bundling up some Patter posts into themes and making them available as PDFs, something that my Nottingham colleagues in China have long been asking me to do.

The most popular posts on Patter this year have been those which have been of most direct relevance to doctoral researchers and their supervisors. These listings suggest that Patter’s readers are largely this group and reminds me that I need to be wary of straying too far and too often from their concerns/issues/interests. The most popular seven Patter posts, aside from the home page itself and people curious about who I am and what I’ve written, have been:

* the difference between aims and objectives

* the difference between methodology and methods

* the term doctoral ‘student’

* what goes in a thesis conclusion – and doesn’t

* a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis

* seven reasons journal articles get rejected

* the difference between revision and editing

I can also see from the statistics available via WordPress that many Patter readers have followed up the books that I’ve discussed by following the links to publishers’ websites, google books and on online bookshops. This makes me think that maybe I could do more about reviewing books and making recommendations, although I wouldn’t want to stop answering questions and posting about the things that I think are important and/or worrying and/or just plain interesting.

So some interesting numbers and some things to think about. I do hope that Patter’s readers manage some down time over the festive season. Thank you for reading, and for commenting, and for encouraging me to keep on posting.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
This entry was posted in academic blogging, Pat Thomson, patter, readers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to patter’s year

  1. Sarah says:

    Congratulations, what a great achievement.

    Since you mention China, the site is not accessible from that country. The government has blocked all sites that contain “wordpress” in the URL so a name change to a vanity URL such a rather than would allow access to the Chinese.


  2. Bronwyn Labrum says:

    Bravo Pat! You and your posts are a constant source of food for thought, inspiration and sage advice. Keep them coming in 2015!


  3. Haitham Al-Sheeshany says:

    Thank you Pat for your efforts. Obviously Patter has a remarkable impact and u deserve to be congratulated for this.


  4. Thank you for all of your work on the Patter blog in 2014. I read it consistently and often recommend posts to my students in the UK, the Netherlands and Portugal. I appreciate the reflexivity you bring to blogging about academic practice shown in many of your posts including this one. (And hello Bronwyn!)


  5. Linda Baines says:

    Pat, You and Thesis Whisperer are my main sources of support during my PhD.. Your blog posts are practical, relevant and inspiring. Thank you.


  6. Mehdi Riazi says:

    Thank you Pat for sharing your useful thoughts and experiences. Wish you a happy season holidays.


  7. CJFBrand says:

    If only I was able to fit all your wisdom into my heart.

    …suppose reading as you wrote it is the closest I will ever get.

    Great job!


  8. Hi Pat, many thanks for your inspiring and insightful blogs; i referred to many throughout the last stretch of my candidature, particularly the ones on method chapter audit trails and literature reviews. More relevant and timely than books, free, and easy to read. Huzzah!


  9. prior says:

    well thanks for sharing the stats with us – and hope you have a wonderful time away from blogging 🙂 – and Happy New year!


  10. Turandot says:

    Hi Pat, you are a great source of inspiration. And certainly not just for PhD students in English speaking countries, as I’m neither. Best greeting and best wishes for the New Year from an Associate Prof in Italy! In case you consider suggestions for your next postings, I’ve been wondering whether the “kinesthetic writers” might profit from some inputs or a revised and commented bibliography about this issue. If there is even such a thing as kinesthetic writers, after all. I suspect being one, when thinking back at how I put together my books and articles, but I’m not sure this categorization is a fruitful one, all considered. Would love to hear your opinion about the visual – auditory – kinesthetic learning style applied to academic writing!


  11. I am in awe of your 124 posts, Pat! Thank you for all the great insights and inspiration! Happy new year! (FWIW, I found the transition from a free WordPress URL to a customized one completely painless. I do have to pay a small fee every year, but there were no complications associated with making the upgrade.)


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