Starting the conversation yourself

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March 2, 2016 by Kate Bowles

In this week’s Times Higher Education blog, Matthew Reisz reviews a new book about the pros and cons of blogging for scientists.

Science Blogging: The Essential Guide covers a really wide range of topics—how to find an audience, how to handle controversy, how science blogging is funded, how to blog as a graduate student. This brief article summarises some key points from the editors and contributors, including useful tips for writers setting out to tangle with research communication:

  • use narratives rather than academic writing but be careful not to oversimplify
  • find solidarity among other blogs
  • blog in response to what you’re reading
  • watch out for trolling, especially when blogging controversial research

 

This might seem remote when you’re just starting as an undergraduate research blogger, but in a broad sense the lessons are applicable at any level.

In particular, as one of the book’s editors is quoted as saying, the point of “start[ing] the conversation yourself” is to raise the public profile of your research, which should logically be research on a topic that’s important to you, and that you’d like more people to know about.

So as you begin to think about research blogging, there are some basic questions that should come up: what kind of voice do you want to develop? How will you establish credibility for your position when you’re early in your research? How will you find a network and engage an audience?

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