Achilleas Kostoulas

Applied Linguistics & Language Teacher Education

Wall-mounted index catalogue

2013 Top Posts

I started this blog almost two years ago, but I think it’s fair to say that 2013 was the year when it really took off. In this last entry for 2013, I want to showcase some of the more successful posts that I have published so far.

The easiest way to measure the impact of a post would have been to count the number of views it has attracted in the past 365 days, which is readily provided by WordPress. However, this would have skewed the results in favour of the older articles, so I adjusted the figures to reflect the number of months since the publication of each post: this means that a post with 150 views since its publication in December was deemed to have more impact than a post that had been published in January and attracted 900 views. Using these adjusted figures, I ranked the posts that appeared in this blog in 2013 in order of popularity, and here are the top five:

  1. On Likert scales, ordinal data and mean values: Honestly, I have no idea why this post proved as successful as it did,  but it accounts for more than half the traffic of the blog every day. Based on information gleaned from search keywords, I suspect that Google must have decided that it is a good resource on Likert scaling and therefore directs queries with the words “Likert”, “mean” and “average” here. Sadly, this post was not meant to be a technical treatise on how to use Likert scales (the topic is only mentioned in passing, to support a broader point), so I am afraid many of the visitors must be frustrated.
  2. Publish and perish: I feel somewhat guilty about taking credit for this post as well, since it only reports on a great article written by someone else. Still, when I wrote the post, it was picked up by a couple of academic news curators who helped to make it very popular.
  3. Open Access: some facts and some thoughts: This is probably one of my favourite posts in the blog, and I am happy with the attention it has received. Over time, I have revised and supplemented the post extensively, so what you read now is rather different from the original version, and much better too. If you know anyone who needs information on the Open Access publishing model, you may want to forward them this link.
  4. Four things you probably didn’t know about Likert scales: When I realised just how much traffic the ‘Likert’ post (#1 on this list) generated, I felt bad that readers didn’t find the information they were looking for, and tried to compensate by putting together some authoritative but easy-to-understand information on Likert scaling. This post was a conscious attempt to capitalise on insights from my web analytics, and the title was inspired by popular advice on attracting blog traffic. Judging by its popularity, I guess I was partially successful, but – to be perfectly frank – I am surprised anyone would want to read an article with such a title!
  5. On theories, practice, and opportunism in Foreign Language Education: I am sure you’ve had the experience of starting a post with the intention of writing a paragraph or so, and realising along the way that you have much more to say. This is one of those posts: originally, I had intended it as a brief follow-up to a conversation in which I was engaged elsewhere. But in the process of writing, I found myself theorising about teaching, theory and praxis, and all this ended up in the text. It’s not too shabby, I think.

Writing this list was something of a revelation for me: it has helped me to realised that, although there is some overlap, the posts for which I care the most are not necessarily the most successful ones. For instance, I had always thought that I have more interesting things to say about teaching and learning, rather than about statistics and research methods. But then again, I suppose that statistics are most useful exactly when they challenge and refine your perceptions.

All this is making me reflect on my goals for the next year: How might it be possible to strike a balance between writing about the things that I believe to be more important, and the things that readers seem to need more? Alternatively, how might it be possible to increase the overlap between the two? These are some questions on which I will have to ponder on my own in the coming days.

As for you all, I would like to thank you for reading what I have had to say. I hope that I can continue to provide you with material that is useful and interesting!

Image Credit: Hindrik Sijens @ Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



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4 responses to “2013 Top Posts”

  1. Mariam Attia avatar

    Hi Achilleas,
    Thank you for your great posts in 2013, and I look forward to further contributions in the New Year. As as subscriber to your blog, I receive your posts in my inbox. Not sure if such entries are counted by WordPress, in which case you may have more reads than indicated.

    Happy New Year! Aam jadeed saeed (in Arabic)! Godt Nytår (in Danish)! :-)

    1. Achilleas avatar

      Hi Mariam!

      Thank you for your kind words! I especially value your opinion, as you very well know, and I therefore cherish these comments!

      I think you have a point about these statistics: in addition to email subscribers, the counter probably misses those using RSS feeds, the WordPress Reader and services such as Feedly: in fact, everyone who reads the blog regularly :) I suppose, then, that the value of these statistics rests not in the absolute numbers, but rather in the relative ranking of posts, i.e., as an indication that post x was read more widely than post y.

      For the New Year, I wish you all the best: Kali Chronia, from Greece!

  2. osmanaz avatar

    Kalimera Achilleas,

    Very nice reflection and blog posts. I hope you keep up the good work you are already doing! Happy new year from Arizona! :)


    1. Achilleas avatar

      Much appreciated! All the best to you too :)

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