Welcome to Counterbalanced
Hello, world! My name’s Pete Etchells, and I’m a post-doctoral Psychologist at the University of Bristol, UK. In this blog, I’ll be writing about bits and pieces of science (with an emphasis on Psychology) that crop up in the news, so we can take a look at the actual research behind the story. I want to see how that research translates into the final article, and what might have changed in the process, and why. Along the way, I hope I can arm you all with some tools to be able to dissect news stories yourselves, look at the evidence about what’s being reported, and decide on your own whether the conclusions make any sense.
And what an exciting time to start a blog like this! Tomorrow, the Royal Institution is hosting a debate involving journalists and scientists, looking at how we might improve the relationship between research and reporting. Last week, the Guardian science blogs posted opening statements from both the journalist’s and scientist’s points of view, and I’ll be posting a report here in the following days about what actually happened at the event. If you’ve not already bought tickets and are in London tomorrow night, then what are you waiting for? You can grab some here.
Life as a scientist, particularly as an early-career scientist, is pretty tough nowadays. Funding and jobs are scarce, and the pressure to publish is huge. One thing that I’ll also be writing about here from time-to-time is about my experiences trying to start a career in research. To that end, I would love to hear from students (both under- and postgraduate) about what sorts of resources would help them get along, or what sorts of experiences they’re currently having trying to get that first foot in the lab door. I’d also love to hear from the other end of the scale; for instance, what are Profs and lead investigators looking for in their students and researchers? Hopefully, we can start building up a resource (or links to existing resources) that can help everyone; after all, we’re all in this together.
Finally, I can’t help but mention that if you happen to be in Bristol, UK, this week, the absolutely magnificent @-Bristol science centre is hosting Brilliant Brain Week from March 13 -18. If you want to come down and learn about your brain from neuroscientists at the cutting edge of research, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it! (plus I’ll be on-hand all day on Saturday, I’d love to say hi!).
I’m really excited about Counterbalanced, and I hope everyone will find this blog interesting, insightful and helpful. Please feel free to send me your thoughts and ideas, and you can always find me on twitter: @drpeteetchells