Tag Archives: Group News

Does Your Behaviour Influence Economics

Or is the world of economics influencing your behaviour?

Behavioural Economics is an emerging field within the discipline and Intute could do with some more resources on this topic.

What is behavioural economics? Essentially it looks at how economic decisions are made, as opposed to the how they should be made by an economically rational being or organisation.

Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational offers his thoughts on the topic in this YouTube video produced by Duke University.

He touches on the relationship with classical economics and how it can make economics feel less like the arena of  Superman and more like that of Homer Simpson – but that is not a bad thing.

… and there are more videos on behavioural economics at YouTube/edu.

from MrsBlogsBlogs.

In terms of the application of behavioural economics to public policy, the New Economics Foundation had outlined  seven principles for policy-makers and Liam Delaney has written about why policymakers should care about behavioural economics over at the Irish Economy.

For some further reading try some academic papers on the topic of behavioural economics via EconPapers or discover similar content via Google Scholar and Google Book Search.

The Economics Network has some teaching and learning resources on the subject, while it has been the topic of seminars at banks, courses taught at MIT and possibly made it into the White House.

There is not currently a section on behavioural economics within Intute: Economics, but if there are enough relevant Internet resources on the subject that can change.

Intute: Social Sciences features a few Internet resources on behavioural economics but help us find more by suggesting a site.

Social Media for the Social Sciences

A little later today, I will be speaking at the ALISS Web 2.0 in practice workshop at the University of Bristol.

I’ll be looking at how Social Media sites such as blogs, Delicious, SlideShare, podcasts, YouTube and Twitter are being being used by Social Scientists, information professionals and Intute.

The slides are available via SlideShare, should be embedded below and form part of a blog supporting the event – while the links mentioned in the talk are available via Delicious.

Some questions worth considering:

Blogs – are blogs set to replace the academic conference in terms of providing access to an “invisible college” of smart people to bounce ideas off of? Can you learn as much from blog comments  – say the commenters at Crooked Timber – as you can from blogs posts?

Try this selection of Our Favourite Social Science Blogs from last year.

Delicious – do you send and receive links via email? Could you benefit from establishing a network on Delicious and taking advantage of what everyone else is finding online?

Try the Economics Network or ESCalate pages on Delicious to see how HEA Subject Centres are using it.

SlideShare – how useful are slides in isolation? Are audio tracks or SlideCasts more useful? And do you trust SlideShare after their April Fool’s prank? After all – other services are available.

SlideShare has more presentations from and about Intute.

Podcasts – is audio a viable medium for transferring knowledge or have people moved on to video? Are “heroes of dissemination” those who can talk about their work in arenas such as VOX Talks and elsewhere?

Explore our archive of podcasts and audio related articles from this blog.

YouTube – online videos from educational sources are all the rage with the appearance of YouTube EDU and Academic Earth – but is an hour long lecture the best way of teaching people or using the video format?

Try our selection of educational YouTube content for the Social Sciences.

Twitter – all the world is a-quiver with Twitter at the moment – but what educational potential does it have and is it being used by students or others beyond the IT crowd?

Try our write-up of our experiences using Twitter or sample Intute: Economics on Twitter.

… all of this and possibly more in just 60 minutes – hopefully!

The Intute Twitter 500

The Intute Economics Twitter channel recently acquired it’s 500th follower – this seems like a good opportunity to reflect on this Twitter experiment.

The world seems all a-quiver about Twitter at the moment – whether it is Twitter-bashing viral animations, implications that it could be more important than UK Newspaper websites or acting as an intriguing communication channel for events such as the JISC Conference.

After using Twitter in a personal capacity for a while, I set up the Intute Economics channel back in November and in the new year we launched a few more channels including the Intute Psychology channel.

So how have we been using Twitter? How could you be using Twitter? What are the keys to the success of  Twitter? I was recently asked to pull together a few thoughts on this for a meeting at the ILRT – and the slides are available online and below:

Some top Twitter tips that have struck me …

Learn from the  crowd

I used Twitter to help me crowdsource my presentation, ask for feedback and to get virtual questions that I answered during the presentation. Although there are problems with Twitter Search it does enable you to filter your results to those Tweets containing links – a real-time search engine.

It’s not another Facebook

You do not have to recreate your existing social networks on Twitter – if you are not getting quality information via Twitter then change the people you are following – the opt-in model of friends / followers means you control the dataset – try Mr. Tweet for automatic suggestions.

Choose your Twittering  personality

Active Twittering – or having a real person update and respond to tweets is the best approach, but Passive Twittering or sending your existing content to Twitter – via a service like Twitterfeed can work too and may work for some organisations.

Keep track of your followers

Twitter Analyzer enables you to take a closer look at your followers – ours describe themselves as students, economists, editors, entrepreneurs – clearly the sort of people Intute is aimed at, Twitter is being used by normal people and not just the IT crowd.

How followers of @intuteeconomics describe themselves:

intuteeconomicsfollowers

Monitor what’s being said about you … and respond

Twitter Search offers an easy way to keep track of what people are saying about you or your service – although you may wish go for a tool that searches several sites such as Social Mention or Icerocket – keep track of what is being said about you and respond.

In conclusion …

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how work relevant a simple tool like Twitter can be – I was very sceptical at first – it is still very much a Marmite app – you’ll love it or you’ll hate it – but weren’t we saying that about blogs or even the Internet a few years ago?

Intute features a number of experimental Twitter channels:

… and finally

Who was that 500th follower – none other than Brian Kelly of UK Web Focus fame!

A Bakers Dozen of Practical Podcasting Tips

Audio podcasting may seem to have taken a bit of a back seat in comparison to video based resources recently, but there are still plenty of people interested in the possibilities of sound based resources.

I was recently asked to pull together my Top Ten Tips for producing an audio podcast – alas 10 soon became 12 and then I added one for luck … but they are presented below:

Beware the audio phile – audio recording can get very involved – feedback from those who spend weeks mastering a track may not be relevant – ask yourself is this good enough for someone listening on an iPod or at their PC?

Beware the audio file – investigate the quality settings on your chosen recording / editing software – in general record in as a high a quality as possible, mix it down so that final file sizes are about 1MB per minute for the audio.

One voice or two – listening to a monologue can be monotonous over an extended period of time. It is much easier on the ear to listen to a conversation, preferably with a male and female voice.

Be natural – use your normal voice while recording, as any affectation will be picked up by the sound recording and will be difficult for you to maintain over time, so get used to the sound of your recorded voice. Pause, don’t ummm.

Prepare for your podcast – either script every word or have a detailed running order for your recording and notes of what you want to say, as this enables you to concentrate on your delivery.

Read it out loud – words that make sense on a page, may not do so when read out loud. Keep sentences short. Allow for breathing. Similar sounds seem silly in the same space. Check it by reading it out loud yourself.

Sound quality – record the best quality sound you can, use a pop filter if you are recording at a desk, be careful where you place the microphone and avoid setting your recording level too high as the sound will clip or distort.

Music – fade in/outs, stingers between segments and a theme tune can make your podcast sound more professional, but will add to the editing time. Resist the temptation to use a track from your favourite album, as you don’t own the copyright.

Be aware of your environment – a high ceiling in a large open room will create an echo, similarly a small bathroom will produce sound reflections, so scout your potential locations in advance and take a test recording.

Noise is everywhere – there is a lot of ambient noise in the world around us that we get used to – computers whirring away, traffic going past etc. – this may be useful colour in some podcasts e.g. a sound-seeing tour, but not for others.

Practice with your equipment – don’t waste your own time by not knowing how to work your recorder, or by setting the level on your microphone is too high, know how your kit works.

Take two – try to get more than one take of a recording, as this gives you more choices while editing. Re-recording later will be very tricky, as you won’t match the sound levels exactly.

Test your results – the sound levels on your PC or recording kit are not the same as those elsewhere – once you have a finished a recording, listen to it on another PC or an mp3 player to see if it sounds OK.

Further Reading

Secrets of Podcasting / Bart G. Farkas ISBN: 0321369297
Podcasting Hacks / Jack D. Herrington ISBN 0596100663
Podcasting for Learning in Universities / Gilly Salmon ISBN 0335234291

Online resources

The Science of Listener Attention
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCWdIRgPXsg#t=6m06s

My Podcasting life … or the reverse Obama effect
http://www.slideshare.net/cfbloke/podcast-presentation-775791

Intute: Social Sciences podcast archive
http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/podcast/

Delicious links on podcasting
http://delicious.com/cfbloke/podcasts

10 Economics Blogs Worth Watching

What’s the current state of the Economics blogosphere? What’s changed, what’s changing and are there any blogs out there that I may not have noticed?

Particularly keen readers of this blog may recall our Guide to Using Blogs in Economics from a couple of years ago. I’m pleased to announce that it has been updated for 2009 with new content, new blogs and new examples of the use of economics blogs in teaching.

I got together with my fellow author Bhagesh Sachania of the Economics Network and we highlighted 10 Economics Blogs Worth Watching as well as talking about the new version of the blog guide – you’ll find it below as a SlideCast (PowerPoint slides with audio).

It highlighted for me that I’m slightly rusty in terms of my podcasting and SlideShare using skills, so it is a little rough around the edges – but hopefully you may discover a blog you’ve not come across before or an idea you can use in your teaching.

The 10 blogs we picked out were:

Why not leave a comment if you’ve got something to say about the Economics blogosphere or get in touch via the Intute Economics Twitter channel.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Economics blogs.

55 Essential Economics Websites

What are the key economics websites for those teaching or studying at University?

Churchill once said that “If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three opinions” – you could perhaps say that there are many different ways of choosing the best of the web for economics as well.

Here at Intute: Social Sciences each browsable subject section  – for example Development Economics – has a few sites at the top labelled as Editor’s Choices. But you could argue that the sites picked out for the Internet Economist tutorial give a more rounded selection, as they include more generic sites that all students may use.

Last year, we picked out the best Internet Resources for Education and this year we will be doing the same for economics. The first pass at sifting through the 3000 plus sites we list in the economics section is below.

Eagle eyed readers may spot that there are only 54 sites listed – unless you count Intute: Economics as well – so feel free to suggest the 55th yourself by leaving a comment, filling in our suggest a site form or dropping us a line via Intute: Economics on Twitter.

Or if you disagree completely then why not use the MyIntute service to pick out your best of the web for economics and use the Quick Guide to Integrating Intute to export them to your blog, webpage or other Internet site – you can use our descriptions, add you own notes and if you use the JavaScript version they will be automatically updated when we edit our records here.

Bibliographic databases

Journal articles, books, book chapters, theses, conference papers and reports are often indexed in bibliographic databases, so searching these sources can help you locate key literature on your research subject.

Continue reading 55 Essential Economics Websites

Some small changes to Intute: Social Sciences

We have made a few small changes to how the Intute: Social Sciences website works.

Getting to the search box

The left hand navigation has been changed to include a link to Search under Internet Catalogue.

This means that you can get back to the search page regardless of where you are within the site.

Fewer icons

If you try a search query or are browsing a subject heading there are fewer icons in each listing:

The icons have been replaced with text links.

More details – takes you through to the full listing for a particular record where you can find similar items by clicking on keywords or classifications.

Save record – which adds that item to your list of records if you are logged in to MyIntute, our personalisation service where you can email links to yourself.

Next and Previous

If you try a search query and get back lots of results, it should be easier to navigate through the pages of results.

Next and Previous links have been added to the existing numerical links to take you through the various pages of search results.

Getting to the Intute home page

In the top left hand corner of every page, there should be a clickable image – saying Intute best of the web – that takes you to the Intute home page.

Regardless of where you are in the website you should be just one click away from the homepage.

If you have any feedback on these changes then do get in touch.

The 1000th blog post

Welcome to this short celebration of 1000 blog posts here on the Intute: Social Sciences blog. It is amazing to think that about two and half years ago we started off by welcoming everyone to the new Intute service and since then have churned out another 999 nuggets of Social Science information related wisdom.

Our blog is put together by a about a half a dozen regular contributors and a similar number of occasional writers. It is the most popular of our Additional Services, has been a showcase for other Social Science blogs, as well as our podcasting activities and even a quote in the Times Higher.

This is a good opportunity to look back on what has changed since 2006 and how that has been reflected by our blogging activity. So I asked our blog contributors for their thoughts on what they have got out of the blogging experience, here’s what they came up with:

I like dipping in and reading some of the more light hearted posts as they supplement Intute materials really well, plus it has taken me to blogs I haven’t heard of before. I would like to see more cross collaboration with other people.

I really like writing for the blog and think it is a good way to publicize our work, in short readable chunks. It’s made me more aware of good quality blogs out there, for my subjects. I think we should have guest contributors now and then.

It’s been great to look more closely at psychology in the news. It seems to crop up a great deal! At the beginning, there were few psychology blogs and podcasts. We’ve seen an explosion in their number over the life of the Intute blog … that represents a real change in the landscape for psychology. People are finding it easier to record audio, video, and post articles

I’m in touch with some interesting sociologists / sociology blogs that otherwise I wouldn’t have come across. Also found it very interesting to be writing for the ESRC Favourite blogs event just as sociology itself was beginning to see the usefulness of blogs and when the American Sociological Association sponsored blogs were setting up what you could call ‘model’ academic blogs i.e. those that were less personal diaries and aimed at disseminating news and tapping into debate and it’s just fun to do!

I am impressed with the scope of the postings and the way they present a topical story in an easily digestible form as well as pointing you to more information on the subject. I have to say my favourites are the ones that put a humourous slant on the news!

So it seems as though it is important to have a sense of humour, which is reflected by our reading public who seem to agree by picking Running for President is a serious business as their most read blog post – which looks at the intersection of satire and comedy in the recent US election.

Blogging has certainly helped us connect with a broader community of bloggers, information professionals and academics, which you can measure on sites like Technorati or see in more qualitative ways such as being asked to produce a Guide to Blogging for the Economics community.

In that context, a couple of contributors mentioned getting guest writers for the blog – it is something we have experimented with before with Francois Briatte writing on health policy and Romesh Vaitilingam contributing to Our Favourite Blogs event – but there’s more of that on the way – watch this space!

To end on a personal note, I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to think out loud in this very public space and I am constantly amazed at what I learn from my fellow contributors, as well as our readers who leave comments or send emails – it’s a privilege to be surrounded by such smart people.

Intute: Social Sciences features more blogs of interest to the Social Science community.

Follow Intute Economics on Twitter

Would you like to keep up-to-date with our blog posts about economics and the latest economics Internet resources added to Intute – then why not follow Intute Economics on Twitter.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking site that is lightweight, easy-to-update and easy to follow. Twitter asks one question, “What are you doing?” Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web. Think of it as the status update part of Facebook – and that is all.

How to Twitter?

Sign up for an account at Twitter – which just needs an email address – you can then search for some of your existing contacts to see if they are already twittering and choose to follow them – ie subscribe to their updates in your timeline – then register your mobile phone if you want to be able to use that to update your Twitter status.

Why Twitter?

I have been using Twitter in a personal capacity for nearly six months and it has helped me get to know people I already knew a lot better, make new contacts, helped me discover new Internet sites and helped to spread the word about all things Intute – plus it’s easy to get on your phone and a lot of fun too! For me it works because it is quick, simple and informal – it does one thing, but does it well – let’s you know what people (or organisations) are up to.

So what about Intute Economics on Twitter?

This is very much an experiment – a bit like the recent announcement about the Intute Facebook group and fan pages – but it will be an alternative way of keeping up to speed with Intute Economics and I will try to keep track of all those interested in economics and the Internet on Twitter – let us know what you think.

Getting more from Twitter

You can use Twitter to update your status in Facebook using the Twitter application, search Twitter to find out what people are saying about topics that interest you or monitor what they are saying about you or your brand, plus there is a huge range of other web apps that are Twitter related – about pictures, music, video etc.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources about Economics.

Best of the blog

It’s been a week of very interesting blog contributions, so I thought that it may be worth while rounding them up for occasional visitors who may have missed some of them.

With the global financial crisis still going on, we’ve seen a range of perspectives on this biggest of big issues.

Suzanne Barbalet, our Sociology editor asked the question – Was the Current Economic Crisis Predicted? – and looked at what the work of Emile Durkheim may have to say about it, as well as considering the best predictions of this economic turmoil from the past – you can find more resources on this in the Economic Performance and Development (inc. Economic Sociology) part of the Sociology section.

Talking of predictors of the economic tsunami, the news that Paul Krugman won the Nobel prize for Economics was an opportunity to reprise his warnings about the state of the economy although others have pointed out his important work in the areas of Bubbles, Starships and Mushy Peas.

Indeed out friends from the Economics Network have been trying to help if You Don’t Understand the Credit Crunch, or by trying to explain Why we need economic growth? There are more resources on these topics in the Economic Growth, Business and Management and Economics sections – as well as resources on the credit crunch.

Away from the world of high finance, Ian Hocking, our Psychology Editor reported on the latest attempts to get us closer to the world of I, Robot with links to resources related to the Turing Test.

And there was a timely reminder that America is not the only place holding elections, when Heather Dawson produced an excellent round-up of links relating to the Canadian Elections earlier in the week, part of a much larger range of resources on Elections in North America.

Although from the web stats, it seems as though you were nearly as interested in the new Image Searching Tutorial from Intute and Tasi as everything else from Intute: Social Sciences.