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Sharing research findings using blogging: useful tips

31 July 2015

Sheena Fletcher outlines some simple tips for effectively sharing your research findings using a blog.

This is the fourth and final blog in my mini-series looking at using online communication tools to promote research and key findings. Read the first blog on social media, the second on website analytics and the third blog on infographics.

Blogs provide a more informal and accessible way for people who are not experts in the field to become interested in research findings and data. It can be an effective tool to get people engaged and also to flag up key messages for policymakers; presenting the information in a form that busy non-academics will find accessible. 

It’s also great for staggering promotion of the research as you can ‘lead’ the publication of the research report with a blog outlining the headline findings. Or similarly publish the report and then post a blog commenting on an interesting aspect of the findings – giving you varied content to share with your organisation’s online audience. 

Some good examples of blogging being used in varied ways to promote and discuss complex topics are: the JRF (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) blog, Oxfam’s blogs and the Scottish Government’s blogs

The GCPH blog is part of our main website, however if you work on a smaller project you may find it easier to use a dedicated blogging platform such as Wordpress or Tumblr. Most blogging sites are free to join and fairly simple to use so it’s easy to try out different options and find the best fit for the content you plan to use on your blog.

 Style guide 

Writing for a blog can sometimes be tricky for researchers as the predominant style of writing used day-to-day in research is a fairly dense and academic style, as befits a journal article or research report. In order to help the team here at the Centre, I prepared a quick guide for them as a very basic introduction to blogging. 

  • Decide on the message you’d like someone reading the blog to take away – for example picking out one key finding of a recent study and highlighting an interesting/important aspect.
  • Keep it short – 400 - 800 words maximum is the ideal.
  • Use a conversational tone and clear language – blogs are not the place to use a verbose, academic writing style.
  • However, there is no place for ‘text speak’ or incorrect grammar so spell-check please!
  • Including links to other related articles, websites and blogs is a good way to signpost the reader to further information on the topic. Where appropriate, more detailed information which is too lengthy or complicated for the blog can also be linked – for example complex statistics or graphs.
  • If you are inviting specific comment (for example, asking people for suggestions or examples) make it clear what you are asking – ending a blog with a straightforward question can be a good way to attract comments.
  • Choose a short and snappy title which will catch people’s attention and give the reader some idea of what the blog is about – try to avoid simply copying the title of the report/event you are writing about. 

Are you a novice academic blogger or is your organisation trying to encourage researchers to blog about their findings? Share your experiences, hints and tips and examples of good practice in the comments section below.

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About the author

Sheena Fletcher E-Comms Officer

Contact
1414408960

Sheena is part of the Centre's communications team and is responsible for managing and developing the Centre's three websites and social media presence.

Sheena also designs and produces infographics to help promote key findings and increase the accessibility of the Centre's research.

Read all blog posts by Sheena Fletcher

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