What’s more exciting than writing up 200 pages of results from over 50 interviews and over 600 survey responses from science bloggers about their practices? Following up with some of those bloggers to see what their READERS think!
Based on my dissertation last year on the practices and routines of science bloggers, I’m starting another project as a postdoctoral researcher at LSU to survey science blog readers. We know relatively little, at least from a rigorous research perspective, about who reads science blogs and why. I want to fix that.
I’m going to be randomly selecting from a list of the science bloggers who took #MySciBlog survey (results here) to ask if they’d like to collaborate with me in surveying their blog readers. I already have IRB approval for a large-scale online survey of blog readers about their social media habits and their perceptions of the science blogs they read. Nicole Sharp over at “Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics” (FYFD) recently helped me pilot test the survey.
How will the study work?
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. A blog reader who reads multiple science blogs may end up responding to the survey more than once, although in that case will only have to answer a small number of blog-specific questions the second time (I don't need to ask again about their occupation or social media habits). Random selection of the blogs to participate in this study will also reduce the likelihood that blog readers will answer the survey multiple times.
Science bloggers who participate will be asked to follow these procedures:
- E-mail the survey to their blog e-mail subscriber list if applicable, with at least 1 reminder e-mail
- Post the survey at the bottom of each of their blog posts for 2-3 weeks, with a start and end date specified by this study
- Share a link to the survey on their social media channels
- Optional: Send us data from Google Analytics about their blog readers for the month the survey was conducted
In this way we will get an unprecedented look at science blog readers, including why and how they use science blogs.
Why should blog readers participate?
For science! Blog readers who participate in the study will be helping to further our scientific knowledge about the use of science blogs. I’m also working on a crowd-funding campaign to get survey incentives for bloggers, in the form of Amazon gift-cards or small gifts such as subscriptions to science magazines. If you’d like sponsor this study as a news or scientific organization, for example donating a certain number of subscriptions to your science magazine or other gifts, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What will bloggers get for participating?
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.) For bloggers, this will be an opportunity for them to get an in-depth look at who reads their science blog and why.
How can I help?
If you are a science blogger who responded to #MySciBlog survey in October 2014, you may well be among the random sample of bloggers I plan to contact for participation. Look for my e-mail and respond swiftly to be included as an official blog collaborator/participant in this study! If you are interested in the results of this survey and would like to help, please contact me at email@example.com. I could use help in testing out the survey questions, and I also need help offering incentives/rewards to blog readers for responding to the survey (we will get better response rates that way, which means higher quality data). I may be starting a crowd-funding campaign soon at Experiment.com to raise research funds for these incentives, so look for that. Otherwise, please contact me if you’d like to donate an incentive, for example a subscription to your science magazine or a copy of a popular science book, etc.
And as always, I’ll be blogging about the results of this study right here and on Twitter @fromthelabbench!