Blogs, Online Seminars, and Social Media as Tools of Scholarship in Political Science
by Justin Esarey, Rice University and Andrew R. Wood, Rice University
How do political scientists use online tools as part of their scholarly work? Are there systematic differences in how political scientists value these tools by field, gender, or other demographics? How important are these tools relative to traditional practices of political scientists? The answers to these questions will shape how our discipline chooses to reward academics who engage with “new media” like blogs, online seminars (webinars), Twitter, and Facebook. We find that traditional tools of scholarship are more highly regarded and more often used than any new media, though blogs are considered most important among new media. However, we also find evidence that these webinars are used and valued at rates comparable to traditional tools when they are provided in ways that meet political scientists’ needs. Finally, we observe that women and graduate students are substantially more likely than men and tenure-track academics to report that webinars and online videos are important sources of new ideas and findings.