LSE Public Policy blog – Why blog?


Click for larger version (ideal for cut+paste into presentations!)

Interview with Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson of the LSE Public Policy department on the value of blogging to their work

Social scientists have an obligation to society to contribute their observations to the wider world – and at the moment that’s often being done in ramshackle and impoverished ways, in pointlessly obscure or charged-for forums, in language where you need to look up every second word in Wikipedia, with acres of ‘dead-on-arrival’ data in unreadable tables, and all delivered over bizarrely long-winded timescales. So the public pay for all our research, and then we shunt back to them a few press releases and a lot of out-of-date academic junk.

Blogging (supported by academic tweeting) helps academics break out of all these loops. It’s quick to do in real time. It taps academic expertise when it’s relevant, and so lets academics look forward and speculate in evidence-based ways. It communicates bottom-line results and ‘take aways’ in clear language, yet with due regard to methods issues and quality of evidence. In multi-author blogs like this one, and all our blogs, it helps create multi-disciplinary understanding and joining-up of previously siloed knowledge. (Twitter is a huge supplementary help, in forcing academics to communicate key messages in 140 characters!)

Academic blogging gets your work and research out to a potentially massive audience at very, very low cost and relative amount of effort. With platforms like WordPress (which we use here), you can set up a blog and have your first article online in no more than 10 minutes. Recent research from the World Bank has shown that blogging about an academic article can lead to hundreds of new readers when before there were only a handful. Blogging in multi-author blogs is a great way to build knowledge of your work, to grow readership of useful articles and research reports, to build up citations, and to foster debate across academia, government, civil society and the public in general.

for more examples and tips