Cues for Credibility: Reading Science Blogs

Posted 29 September 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Infographic created by me.

What factors lead people to trust and engage with a science blog? One 2014 study found cues for blog credibility include a blogger's self-reported expertise, or the expertise/profession they indicate on their "About the Blog" pages or in their sidebar biographies, for example. Other cues for credibility reported in the study include gender (with readers perceiving female blog authors to be more credible in this case) and community ratings (e.g. upvotes on the blog post). Interested in more research on science blog readers, or... Read more

Are science blogs echo chambers?

Posted 22 September 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Red echo, by Oli4.D,

“While most of us had assumed that the Internet would increase the diversity of opinion, the echo chamber meme says the Net encourages groups to form that increase the homogeneity of belief.” – David Weignberger, 2004, Salon Whenever specialized communities arise in new media, whether science blogs or a community of people who tweet about science, people start asking: Is this an echo chamber? Are science bloggers talking mostly to other science bloggers? Is anything this online scientific community tweets... Read more

For Entertainment! For School! For News! For Fact-Checking! Why do people read science blogs?

Posted 17 September 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau


You are reading a science blog. Right. Now. But oddly enough, I don’t know much about you. There are thousands upon thousands of scientists, students, science communicators, journalists and science enthusiasts blogging about science out there on the internet. But most of them also know relatively little about their readers. What keeps you coming back to a science blog? What type of information are you looking for, and what do you expect to find? Do you already know a lot... Read more

Help! I’m interviewing a scientist, what do I ask?

Posted 12 September 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Image credit: Goddard studio 13,

This week, I covered how to interview a scientist for my science communication course at LSU. We talked about how to prepare for an interview, and what kinds of questions you can ask during an interview to pull out interesting details about the scientist’s life and work. My students will get to practice what they learned on Monday, when LSU researchers will be visiting our classroom for “mock” interviews. And naturally, we will be recording these interviews and sharing them... Read more

#MySciBlog Part 2 – A huge survey of science blog readers

Posted 1 September 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau


  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... Read more

Dear Scientist: Your contribution to social media isn’t noise

Posted 19 August 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Image credit: Alan Grinberg, Flickr

Today, I sat in an all-day orientation program for new faculty at my university. I kept waiting for campus administrators to mention social media or other university-supported avenues for us to communicate our research more broadly than traditional academic mediums. But that discussion never came. I thought the orientation was a missed opportunity to talk to us about how important it is for academic scientists to communicate their science broadly. "So you would tell me I should be blogging, right?"... Read more

This is why stereotype threat is a big deal for women in science

Posted 6 August 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Physics. Georgia Southern,

Underrepresentation of women in STEM fields can make these women feel like “tokens.” For example, women receive as few as 19% of undergraduate physics degrees in the United States, according to the science and engineering indicators2012 report by the National Science Board. This isolating status may “trigger worry or concern about fulfilling gender stereotypes,” write Jessi Smith and colleagues in a recent publication on how stereotype threat undermines women’s identity as research scientists[1]. Stereotype concerns in science environments can lead women... Read more

Sci-Painting: This artist will change the way you see the wildlife around you

Posted 18 July 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau


I first met Shelby Prindaville while she was completing her Master of Fine Arts degree from the LSU Painting and Drawing Program. I was, on a whim, looking for artists who documented wildlife in coastal Louisiana and the Louisiana wetlands, for an LSU homepage feature story I was writing. Shelby responded to an e-mail announcement that went out, and I knew immediately that she belonged in this story. At the time, Shelby created amazing clay sculptures of anoles (lizards) jumping... Read more

Why we need to drop everything and foster female role models in STEM

Posted 14 July 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Researchers planting marsh grass seedlings as part of UNC's plan to become carbon neutral.
Photo credit: E. Woodward/ UNC Institute of Marine Sciences,

“Female STEM professors not only provide positive role models for women, but they also help to reduce the implicit stereotype that science is masculine in the culture-at-large.” - Young et al. 2013 As of 2009, women only made up 27% of the science and engineering workforce, and 18% of full professors in STEM departments. With so few women in tenured and leadership positions in STEM departments at top research universities, a lack of female role models may act as a... Read more

Scientific storytelling helps researchers communicate their findings in a competitive publishing environment

Posted 25 June 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Dr. Rafael Luna speaking at LSU. Photo credit: Paige Jarreau.

Today, I attended a seminar at LSU on scientific storytelling presented by Dr. Rafael Luna. Luna is an LSU alumnus and author of The Art of Scientific Storytelling, a guide to presenting and publishing scientific research with the help of narrative elements. Too often, scientists view writing and publishing as a burden, an unwelcome add-on that slows their momentum and interferes with getting on to the next experiment. Why, then, do scientists write? There are two sets of reasons—content-related and... Read more