Science blogs, beneficial for public engagement with Science, or not?

 

So I’ve always assumed, yeah of course Science Blogs are good for the public engagement of science, no question about it. But then I read this article that says it wasn’t, and I was all like, really? So this article1 says that like, it’s not because the average Joe can’t understand what they’re talking about in science blogs, and thus don’t become engaged in the blog. But I beg to differ. I think even someone who has as badder grammar as I’ve just displayed can understand or at the least appreciate most science blogs. A lot of the blogs take out the scientific jargon and replace it with colloquialisms and common names.

 

Are the public this engaged when reading science blogs?

Blogs are way easier to understand than say, a scientific paper, If I was a non-scientist (God forbid) and say was looking around for information on cancer because a member of my family had just been diagnosed, I’d easily choose reading a blog to get information over a scientific article. Blogs are more personal, often use humour, and are more like a conversation, so even if the average Joe can’t understand every word they cans till appreciate the writing style, unlike the usual scientific paper format which is dull in comparison, let’s admit it. I think that by scientists writing blogs that use humour and are personable also contribute to the public wanting to become engaged with science, by showing that scientists are just normal people like you and me, which can only be beneficial (see my last post).

 

One of the main arguments that the author of this article makes is that “Certain developments, such as the public engagement of science, can only be facilitated if the technology is embedded within the network of social actors and structures.”1 Whilst I don’t think it is necessary to have structures in place for engagement to occur, I thought it would be helpful to have some sort of worldwide science blog search mechanism, where one could search for blogs understandable to the average Joe, and filter out more complex blogs aimed at people with background knowledge of the topic. What are your thoughts on Science Blogs? Are they helpful or unhelpful to the public’s engagement with science?

 

 

1Kouper, I 2010. ‘Science blogs and public engagement with science: practices, challenges, and opportunities’, Journal of Science Communication, vol. 09, no. 01, pp. 1-10. Available from: Google Scholar [01 November 2011].

Pic source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zpeckler/2522647545/sizes/l/in/photostream/

 

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By rosanna87

2 comments on “Science blogs, beneficial for public engagement with Science, or not?

  1. Good job. I agree with your point that blogs are a lot more accessible than journal articles. For one thing, if you don’t have access to a university database, journal articles are very expensive for a few pages of virtual paper than make little sense.

    I have to disagree with you about grammar though. It’s hypocritical considering how terrible my spelling is, but if a blog is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors I will not trust the author. Since he or she could not be bothered to read the article through once before posting how can I trust that the information is correct.

    Then again, I am not a particularly patient person (I have very little patience for sitting down and reading scientific journals unless I am very interested in the research), so maybe I am being to judgmental.

  2. Hi Shortfletch, thanks for your comment, I’m sorry if I did’nt make it clear enough, but I was referring to the blog reader as being someone who might have bad grammar, i.e an ‘average joe.’ I agree with what you’re saying though, if a blog writer has bad grammar I don’t think anyone would take them seriously, so I don’t think your being too judgemental.

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