Saturday, I launched my first project to crowd-fund my PhD dissertation research in science communication Louisiana State University.

Robert Couse-Baker,

Robert Couse-Baker,

The goal of my research project is to understand how science bloggers choose what to write about. The role of science blogging and science bloggers is expanding and diversifying today. More Americans get their science news online and via social media than ever, and much of that is now coming from science blogs. And yet, relatively little research has targeted the practices, routines and values of science bloggers. Traditionally, science bloggers have been the champions of fighting bad science on the internet. But today, they are so much more. Who are science bloggers? What do they do? How do they decide what to blog about?

I'm conducting a large-scale online survey to answer that question, following over 50 in-depth interviews I've conducted with science bloggers so far for my dissertation. My upcoming survey of science bloggers includes over 70 intriguing questions. But I need to offer a small financial incentive to help science bloggers, who often make little money despite their important task in the science news ecosystem, complete my survey. A goal of $1,000 for this project will allow me to give a $5 incentive to at least 200 science bloggers.

That's where comes in. It's a platform with excellent past success in bringing research to life, and users can decide what research they want to see funded.

Experiment is a platform for enabling new scientific discoveries.

You can visit my Experiment project, and share it, here: Obviously, I'd rather not have science bloggers themselves funding this research, but please send this project to science journalists, professional science communicators and other science and social science researchers you think might be interested in the results. I'll be publishing the results of my survey open access. My Experiment page also allows me to update you with lab notes as my research continues.

If you are a science blogger wanting to get involved in my research, you can sign up for my survey and to receive further notifications here:

Finally, follow my hashtag ‪#‎MySciBlog‬ for interesting quotes from science bloggers, culled from my research interviews.

"the two things that get me really interested are, if it's science that I find really interesting, or, if it's something that's really, really wrong." -Science Blogger, #MySciBlog

"I think that... your gender definitely has a factor in terms of what you choose to write about." - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog

The issue of open access: "I'm thinking more and more [...] as to whether to only write about open access articles." - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog

"There's no, 'how to blog' have to just watch...what are the people...considered to be the best at this doing?" - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog

"Some of these science bloggers [...] they're basically doing what a journalist doesn't even have time to do anymore." - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog

"It's basically a place where I can keep different components of my intellectual content..." - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog

"It's really just more of a compulsion, where I'm like, I want to have a voice in this discussion." - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog 

"And as long as I’m adding a little bit [emphasis] of knowledge to people, that’s all I’m looking for..." - Science Blogger, #MySciBlog