Tag Archives: Favourite Blogs

Favourite blogs: What kind of week has it been?

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 logoWelcome to Our Favourite Social Science blogs.

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs.

Today Paul Ayres the Section Editor for Economics and Education, looks back at our week of writing about blogs in the social sciences.

So what kind of week has it been? I hope you have enjoyed this all too brief sojourn through a compact and bijou part of the social science blogosphere. Over the last 10 days we have picked out some of our favourite blogs in a range of subjects.

Friday 7th of March: Sociology
Monday 10th of March: Psychology and Law
Tuesday 11th of March: Elections and Statistics / Data
Wednesday 12th of March: Economics and Business / Management
Thursday 13th of March: International Relations and Europe
Friday 14th of March: Politics / Government

We went with our favourite blogs for a good reason – the blogosphere is so vast that it’s difficult to be comprehensive in just a few hundred words and you will always miss someone out – though the recent Observer 50 most powerful blogs piece certainly got a lot of attention for taking a rather different approach.

However, I think that a special mention has to go to Crooked Timber which has been picked out by three of our contributors this week. The breadth of expertise on offer, the range of subjects tackled and the darned good writing, makes it hard to beat.

Just this week they have been discussing the future of current academic publishing models (and a follow-up asks academics what would change their publishing habits) with many of the points raised being equally applicable to blogging.

But what about the wider picture of blogging in academia? It seems clear to me that academics are taking blogs and blogging more seriously. ResearchBlogging.org aggregates serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research across a range of subjects, including a number in the social sciences. Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting organises this effort and includes a lively forum where issues around academic blogging are debated.

Why blog? It’s a question academics are still asking and answering amongst themselves and some of us have chimed in as well – but plenty of academics are just getting on and doing it, as the wiki at Academicblogs.org goes to prove.

Back in 2005 the old SOSIG blog got a fair bit of attention for blogging about the UK general election – less than three years later and such a development would not be remarked upon. And to me that shows how blogs and blogging have come into the mainstream, within academia and elsewhere, and perhaps the key lesson from this week is that blogs are here to stay.

You can contribute to this event by leaving a comment on any of the articles, perhaps letting us know about your favourite blogs in a particular subject or by helping expand our catalogue of academic blogs by filling in our suggest a site form.

If you would like to send some feedback about the ESRC Festival, then why not fill in their online survey.

Intute: Social Sciences features more blogs and more about blogging.

Favourite Blogs: Economics

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 logoWelcome to Our Favourite Social Science blogs.

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs.

Today is Budget Day here in the UK, so it is perhaps appropriate that our guest contributor Romesh Vaitilingam, a media consultant who works for the Royal Economic Society amongst others, looks at blogs in the area of economics.

Economists have rarely courted popularity – and their indifference to public acclaim has earned its just rewards. But all that seems to be changing with the recent boom in pop economics books – think airport bestsellers like Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist – and the emergence of a string of high-profile blogs written by leading economic researchers and commentators.

The success of books seeking to make economics accessible to a wide audience can be pretty accurately measured by newspaper bestseller lists. The impact of blogs in economics is more difficult to assess, but rankings such as 26econ give us some data to go on – though the Disraelian caveat of ‘lies, damned lies and web statistics’ should always be borne in mind.

League tables like 26econ indicate the substantial overlap between the online and ‘dead tree’ worlds of economics. Freakonomics – the blog of the book by University of Chicago professor Steven Levitt – is the clear number 1. And at number 3 is the blog of Princeton professor, New York Times op-ed columnist and fierce critic of the Bush administration Paul Krugman.

Levitt and Krugman are highly regarded scholars, both recipients of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to ‘the American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic thought’. And the top 20 includes several other economists widely recognised as being among the very best, including Nobel laureate Gary Becker and leading thinker about trade, development and globalisation Dani Rodrik.

One blog I look at regularly for entertaining perspectives on a range of subjects is Marginal Revolution. The lead writer on this site is Tyler Cowen, George Mason professor, author of Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist and acknowledged by fellow economics bloggers to be the best in the business.

Another I often consult is the blog by Greg Mankiw, Harvard professor, author of leading textbooks in economics and a former Bush adviser. This site is a particularly useful source for links to the most interesting online writing on economics, as well as audio and video clips.

Among the handful of UK economics blogs, Stumbling and Mumbling by Investors Chronicle journalist Chris Dillow is always good at picking up insights from economic research. Dillow too provides a valuable service as an aggregator of what’s worth reading around the web.

The UK’s ‘mainstream media’ has been quick to develop blogs in economic commentary. The BBC’s economics editor Evan Davis has a thoughtful blog called Evanomics, which he describes as ‘my attempt to understand the real world, using the tool kit of economics’.

And the Financial Times hosts the blogs of ‘The Undercover Economist‘ Tim Harford, and London School of Economics professor and self-styled Maverecon Willem Buiter, who has made a name for himself commenting on issues around Northern Rock and the global credit crunch.

Buiter aside, academic economists in the UK have been slower to get involved in blogging than their US counterparts. Across Europe more broadly, one excellent ‘group blog’ is Vox, an initiative by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, which offers ‘research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists’.

Vox has made efforts to analyse its readership as well as offering a ranking of its articles by how often they have been viewed. This suggests that while economists may not have made themselves any more popular, at least now they are willing to show that they care.

You can contribute to this event by leaving a comment on this article, perhaps letting us know about your favourite statistics and data / open access blogs or by helping expand our catalogue of academic blogs by filling in our suggest a site form.

Intute: Social Sciences features more economics blogs in our economics section or if you are an economist who is thinking about blogging, why not try the Guide to Using Blogs in Economics.

Favourite blogs: Elections

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 logoWelcome to Our Favourite Social Science blogs.

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs.

Today, Paul Ayres from the Intute: Social Sciences team in Bristol, looks at the role blogs can play in elections.

The political blogosphere is probably the most heated part of the world of online social science comment. With the US Presidential election in full swing, it seems apt that I take this as my subject for looking at the effect blogs can have on elections, by looking at some of my favourites.

Most mainstream media outlets now supplement their news coverage with a blog. One of my favourites is the Hotline on Call blog, a team blog from various political correspondents who work for the National Journal. It’s a rapid fire round-up of the latest election news, which can generate a lot of blog posts at key times of the campaign and provides an excellent summary of what is happening in the mainstream media Stateside. However, my favourite part is the HotLine TV daily video update, which usually features editors Amy Walter and John Mercurio.

During the campaign they have made a habit of posting special videos marking the departure of various candidates from the Presidential race.

But what about proper academic sources? No one site stands out above the rest, but The Monkey Cage features some good writing from four professors of political science at George Washington University. Among their number is Henry Farrell, who is also a contributor to Crooked Timber, one of those rare interdisciplinary blogs which cover a range of social science topics, including US politics. Another team blog is PolySigh, which includes analysis from Philip Klinker and has been particularly strong on racial and religious aspects of voter analysis. While the CalTech Election Updates blog and the Election Law @ Moritz blog provide valuable round-ups on the mechanics and legal aspects of voting.

Elections of course mean polling and the joys of polling data, undecideds breaking towards the challenger, margins of error and all sorts of other psephological nuances. While not presented as a blog, Electoral-Vote.com presents a daily analysis of the latests polls, maps of how this affects the overall national picture and occasional think pieces on broader issues – the latest of which is How Good Are Experienced Presidents? Or if you would like an alternative, The Gallop Poll presents updates of election data and their Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Frank Newport gives you the stories behind the latest polling numbers on their YouTube channel.

If you are interested in the broader role that the Internet can play in the campaign, then you really need to read TechPresident, set up by the Personal Democracy Forum to track “how the candidates are using the web and how the web is using them”. It presents a daily round-up on the latest on the web about and by the candidates, it tracks their popularity in terms of a number of popular Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Technorati, and takes an activist stance asking Who will be America’s first TechPresident. If you want to supplement your TechPresident reading, then why not try PrezVid from Jeff Jarvis, which is tracking the YouTube element of the campaign.

Of course, there are plenty of other elections where the blogosphere can make an impact. In London, there’s a mayoral election coming up where MayorWatch is rounding up the latest news about the campaign and some say that political blogging is becoming more relevant in the Arab world too. In Europe, Roland Abold looks back on their role in the 2005 German elections and there is even an interesting visual representation of the French political blogosphere that reflects on their presidential election last year.

For some further academic analysis of the electoral blogosphere try:

You can contribute to this event by leaving a comment on this article, perhaps letting us know about your favourite election blogs or by helping expand our catalogue of academic blogs by filling in our suggest a site form.

Intute: Social Sciences features more resources on blogs and elections, US elections and elections in general.

Our Favourite Social Science Blogs

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 logoWelcome to Our Favourite Social Science blogs.

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs.

With over 70 million blogs worldwide this new breed of online commentating has taken the Internet by storm and has the potential to be a significant source of information, debate and research material for social scientists.

Whether it is online sources of political gossip, an insight into the latest economic issues or how psychological research may tell you more about what you are thinking and why, let the editors at Intute: Social Sciences guide you through the Social Science blogosphere – or at least the parts of it, that we like the most.

With thousands of blogs being published by academics and many more that may be of interest to the scholarly community, this won’t be a comprehensive overview of them all, but we hope it will perk your interest in exploring further.

Each day during the Festival we shall be publishing a couple of articles looking at key blogs in a range of subjects.

Here’s what we’ve got coming up:

Friday 7th of March: Sociology
Monday 10th of March: Psychology and Law
Tuesday 11th of March: Elections and Statistics / Data
Wednesday 12th of March: Economics and Business / Management
Thursday 13th of March: International Relations and Europe
Friday 14th of March: Politics / Government and Round-up of the week

You can contribute to this event by leaving a comment on any of the articles, perhaps letting us know about your favourite blogs in a particular subject or by helping expand our catalogue of academic blogs by filling in our suggest a site form.

If you would like to send some feedback about the ESRC Festival, then why not fill in their online survey.

Intute: Social Sciences features more blogs and more about blogging.

Our Favourite Social Science Blogs

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 logoStarting tomorrow, Friday the 7th of March, Our Favourite Social Science Blogs is a week long exploration of the social science blogosphere – why not come along and sample some of our favourites, tell us about blogs that you like and even discuss what you think about the role of blogging in academia.

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs.

Each day during the Festival we shall be publishing a couple of articles looking at key blogs in a range of subjects.

We hope that will come back soon and contribute to this event by leaving a comment on any of the articles, perhaps letting us know about your favourite blogs in a particular subject or by helping expand our catalogue of academic blogs by filling in our suggest a site form.

Intute: Social Sciences features more on blogs and blogging.