Dr Dinah Parums has also edited scientific papers.
There is concern that life science is either badly reported or ‘sensationalised’ in the popular media. One way of changing this situation would be if more scientists and health professionals published well-written science blogs.
Her six tips are that science blogs should be Balanced, Accurate, Relevant, Well-Referenced/Sourced, Original, in some way and Well-Written.
This is a B.A.R.R.O.W. for science blogging:
Ideally, your blog will be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length; that is, no more than two A4 single-spaced pages of text.
You are writing an ‘evidence-based’ article, so no matter how short, it should contain evidence for, against, any unanswered questions and further studies that should be done.
Just like Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo’, your blog should have a ‘why’ and a ‘wherefore’.
In this way, you will avoid ‘sensationalised’ and non-factual articles.
Check the literature at the scientific ‘source’.
Never use a ‘generalized’ review by a non-scientist as your source.
If you can, interview the scientific source or quote from the original material.
Then check everything again as you reference the article.
Try not to give your own ‘personal’ opinion or interpretation unless you are
qualified to do so.
With science, particularly life science, it is not difficult to find relevance.
A topic which you may know little about, which generates lots of interest but which has little explanation is a good one to choose.
For example, ‘crowdfunding’ in science research is a recent phenomenon. There were no reviews of the topic in 2014, but the word ‘crowdfunding’ was everywhere. This blog then became helpful to others:
You may wish to use your blog to promote or link to other sites you wish to promote; but be careful to ensure that this is done in the right context.
REFERENCES & SOURCES
Start your blog by collating the reference sources with their URLs if they have them.
These sources should be acknowledged, even in a short blog.
You may use hyperlinks within the text of your blog or place the full reference with or without its URL at the end of your blog, just as you would for a science paper.
Tip: when preparing your blog, use both.
You may be invited later to expand your blog in to a full article for publication in a journal.
Depending on your target audience, your blog needs to grab their attention in some way.
The best way to do this, is with the title of your blog.
For example, use ‘puns’ or references to something in popular culture can work.
Try to keep it tasteful.
The content or your blog may show ‘originality’ without deviating from factuality, in the following ways:
1) You may be asking a question that no-one else has:
2) You may research the evidence that challenges a long-established belief:
3) You may be bringing something new and important to the attention of your blog reader:
4) You may be raising the profile of a topic or group you have a personal interest in:
Just because you're writing a short blog, there is no reason to abandon your writing skills.
When published online, your blog will be read by more people than most journal articles, so write as well as you can.
Remember that each article you write forms part of your ‘curriculum vitae’:
Check spelling and grammar, but also ‘tone’.
Blogs can be a good way to develop your own style.
Blogs which are balanced, accurate, relevant, referenced, original and well-written will attract quality readers, quality comments and enhance your networks.