deciding on a research topic

First week of uni and keen to get stuck into the Science Communication – Specialist Research Topics (COMM7402) unit. I’m looking forward to lots of juicy reading of science communication literature in a particular research field. And there comes the crunch.

The prospect of researching the scientific literature, presenting a seminar and writing a literature review does not phase me, but deciding on a topic in which I’m interested that is well documented in peer-reviewed journals seems to be the most difficult.

At the moment I’m attempting to narrow my interests by revisiting some ideas and thoughts that others have expressed online with regard to science communication, how science and technology is communicated, and by whom:

  • Science blogger v. blogging scientist, Clastic Detritus blog
  • The subtitle to FemaleScienceProfessor blog reads: “Women professors in the physical sciences: a few. Women professors in the physical sciences at research universities: even fewer. Women full professors in physical sciences at research universities, especially mine: infinitesimal. But we exist..”
  • The comments that follow the An Early Look at The Future of Science Journalism post that consider science article publishers and where the readers are.
  • Using a self reflective journal to enhance science communication showed that “The use of self-evaluation through reflective journals was found to enhance the effectiveness of tutoring. Implications for developing the ‘human side’ of science will be discussed, and the appropriateness of the course to develop these often under-represented aspects of science.” Is this a style that scientists and researchers can apply when blogging?
  • In Tim Dunlop’s article, If you build it they will come: Blogging and the new citizenship” exploring the idea whether bloggers are the new public intellectuals.
  • Google to Host Terabytes of Open-Source Science Data
  • An increasing number of articles being published in open access journals and repositories, and some organisations mandating open access publication.
  • Research Blogging, a blog that shares and discusses peer-reviewed articles.
  • Thanks to YouTube, Professors Are Finding New Audiences
  • Science in Second Life, for example SciLands to assist in the public understanding of science.
  • National Library of Medicine providing guidelines to cite a blog.
  • Russell Jacoby on Counterpoint, ABC (18 Feb 2008) and his article in the Chronicle Review, Big Brains, Small Impact. Refers to blogs as “private journals with megaphones” and concerned with why public intellectuals are disappearing.

    “Professionalization and academization appeared to be the reason. Younger intellectuals were retreating into specialized and cloistered environments.”


    “The new thinkers became academic — not public — intellectuals, with little purchase outside professional circles. While a book by Edmund Wilson could be read with pleasure by an educated citizen, a volume by an academic luminary such as Homi K. Bhabha or Fredric Jameson would give him or her a headache.”

  • Publishing in peer-reviewed papers in recognised journals is stated as the ‘gold standard’ if scientists and researchers wish to succeed as an academic. Little credence is given to writing on the web, yet as one PhD candidate said, she would not have found another researcher in her very specialised field if she had not blogged about her research.
  • Scientists that communicate science well for it to even become popular, have their science questioned, for example, Susan Greenfield who has a well established reputation for public communication.

One thought on “deciding on a research topic

  1. Hi. I on numerous occasions be familiar with this forum. This is the head together undisputed to ask a topic.
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