Science blogs have become an increasingly important component of the ecosystem of science news on the Internet. Through a survey of 2,955 readers of 40 randomly selected science blogs, we created profiles of science blog users. Super users indicated reading science blogs for a wide range of reasons, including for community-seeking purposes. One-way entertainment users indicated reading blogs more for entertainment and ambiance. Unique information-seeking users indicated reading blogs more for specific information not found elsewhere. But regardless of science blog users’ motivations to read, they are sophisticated consumers of science media possessing high levels of scientific knowledge.
About This Project
Who reads science blogs? Why do readers engage with science blogs, and what do they get out of the experience? These simple questions have surprisingly not been answered before! Blogs are an important component of many people's science information diets. It's time we understand readers' experiences with science blogs, and perhaps work to improve those experiences.
*New perk for backers - For a $150 pledge, I'll survey your own blog readers & report the data!
Ask the ScientistsJoin The Discussion
What is the context of this research?
Previous studies have investigated the motivations people have for reading blogs, but none have focused on science blogs. In 2010 Barbara Kaye suggested 9 broad motivational factors for accessing blogs. Which apply to science blogs?
What is the significance of this project?
This project is significant because it asks questions we have never answered before! Blog readers who participate in the study will be helping to further our scientific knowledge about the use of science blogs. With this knowledge, we will have a better idea of what blogs contribute to people's science information diets, and whether we should continue to focus on blogs as an important avenue of science communication. Are blogs primarily sources of entertainment for already science-literate readers? Or are they sources of complex scientific information not found in the mainstream media?
What are the goals of the project?
The goal of this project is to conduct a large survey of science blog readers. We more than 30 science bloggers committed to distributing a link to our survey on their blog pages and to their blog subscribers. The online survey will ask blog readers both general questions about their use of science blogs as well as specific questions about the blog for which they are answering the survey. Read more on the data collection procedures here.
Science bloggers who collaborate in surveying their readers as a part of this study will get instant access to all of survey data about their readers! (Strictly anonymized, of course, for the privacy of their readers.)
This research will provide an unprecedented in-depth look at who reads science blogs and why. We plan to publish all results.
This project requires financial support in order to offer incentives for survey participation (to blog readers). Myself and Dr. Lance Porter from LSU will be surveying the readers of 60 randomly-selected science blogs (from a list of >600 science blogs captured in #MySciBlog project). At least 1 survey participant from each of these 60 blog-specific surveys will be entered into a drawing for a $100.00 e-card.
Extra funds will go toward offering additional participation incentives, including subscriptions to science magazines and other small goodies. As a media organization, you can support this project by donating subscriptions to your content or other promotional goodies - e-mail me to donate these: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is it important to offer survey incentives? Because asking readers to complete a questionnaire without incentives risks incomplete survey responses. With your support, we can collect higher-quality data!
See below for what you can get for donating!
Meet the Team
Dr. Paige Jarreau got her PhD in Mass Communication from LSU. Her dissertation investigated the practices of science bloggers (read it here). She currently teaches science communication and studies how science is communicated in social media environments. Oh yeah, and she is a blogger! Read her stuff at fromthelabbench.com.
Dr. Lance Porter is an associate professor at LSU, where he heads up the Digital Media Initiative and directs the Social Media Analysis and Creation (SMAC) Lab. He currently teaches and studies digital, social and mobile culture, and he holds a joint appointment with the Center for Computation and Technology. He earned his PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Georgia.
Paige Brown Jarreau
Paige Jarreau is a science communication researcher specializing in social media. She's also an avid blogger (fromthelabbench.com) and Instagrammer. She Instagrams science @scicommnerd and @lsuscience. However, her circus arts Instagram is far more popular - @fromthelabbench! In her day job, she works for the LSU College of Science and LSU Communication across the Curriculum Science Studio.
Press and Media
What do I get for donating?
Good question! If you donate $10, we have 10 science-y fish drawings to give away! Claim yours by commenting here.
For $20, you can request a customized drawing of a fish species of your choice, from the talented @Connectedwaters! Claim yours by commenting here! There are only 10 drawings available, so hurry!
For $25 dollars, you can choose ANY scientific paper for Paige to blog about! Just tweet or e-mail her. It could be research you've done that you want a wider audience to read about, or a research paper you need to read for work or school but that you're having a tough time translating. See the details here.
If you donate $50 dollars or more to this project, I will give you a free digital file of a photograph of your choosing from here: http://paigesphotos.photoshelter.com/. I even have cool infrared film photographs!
New: For $150, I am providing custom readership surveys for your own (science) blog. (5 available).
For $200, get access to an interactive online survey data report as soon as our survey closes.
If you donate $400 dollars or more, you will get a personal (virtual) appointment with me to talk over the results of the blog reader surveys before they are published! I'll talk you through why, in general, people read the science blogs that we surveyed, their perceptions and information needs, etc.
If you donate $800 or more, you will be able to request a particular question added to our survey, one that you would be interested seeing the responses to. We can accommodate up to 5 of these questions.
If you are a media organization, you can also donate perks of various kinds. Please e-mail me at email@example.com for details!
Potential motivations for accessing blogs:
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