How is research blogged? A content analysis approach

Hadas Shema, Judit Bar-Ilan, Mike Thelwall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Blogs that cite academic articles have emerged as a potential source of alternative impact metrics for the visibility of the blogged articles. Nevertheless, to evaluate more fully the value of blog citations, it is necessary to investigate whether research blogs focus on particular types of articles or give new perspectives on scientific discourse. Therefore, we studied the characteristics of peer-reviewed references in blogs and the typical content of blog posts to gain insight into bloggers' motivations. The sample consisted of 391 blog posts from 2010 to 2012 in's health category. The bloggers mostly cited recent research articles or reviews from top multidisciplinary and general medical journals. Using content analysis methods, we created a general classification scheme for blog post content with 10 major topic categories, each with several subcategories. The results suggest that health research bloggers rarely self-cite and that the vast majority of their blog posts (90%) include a general discussion of the issue covered in the article, with more than one quarter providing health-related advice based on the article(s) covered. These factors suggest a genuine attempt to engage with a wider, nonacademic audience. Nevertheless, almost 30% of the posts included some criticism of the issues being discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1136-1149
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 ASIS&T.


  • bibliometrics
  • content analysis
  • scholarly communication


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