212993 Social Media at NIOSH: Evaluating the NIOSH Science Blog

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Virginia Sublet, PhD , Office of Health Communication/ Office of the Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, DC
Christina Spring, MA , Office of Health Communication/Office of the Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, DC
In November of 2007 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) implemented the NIOSH Science Blog. Bimonthly postings present topics related to current NIOSH research and programs. The goals of this resource are to utilize social media methodology to provide a two-way exchange with partners and stakeholders, promoting timely and transparent scientific discussion. By November, 2008 traffic to the NIOSH Science Blog reached 110,000 visits, averaging 250 visits per day. Presently, there are 12,743 subscribers and, on average another 679 subscribe each month. The objective of this demonstration project is to assess the NIOSH Science Blog to determine if it is an effective way to engage stakeholders in discussion and to generate ideas that will improve the quality of the blog experience for visitors.

This qualitative evaluation has three phases: I) assess blog participation statistics and other existing data; II) collect data by volunteer participation from subscribers and other readers solicited using a pop-up survey on the site and from NIOSH stakeholders at major scientific and professional meetings; and III) conduct data analysis, including a content analysis of important themes. The output of this project will include a manuscript published in a peer reviewed journal. Major outcomes will involve working with the NIOISH Science Blog team to improve the quality for readers and an improved understanding of the effectiveness of this medium to engage stakeholders. The poster presentation will focus on the criteria used to develop the survey, the implementation, and the progress of the project.

Learning Objectives:
1. List specific methodological, administrative, and ethical challenges to evaluating a science-focused blog. 2. Describe viable strategies for evaluation of the NIOSH Science Blog.

Keywords: Evaluation, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Senior Health Scientist in the Office of Health Communication at NIOSH. I do research and evaluation in the area of health communication, social marketing, and social media. I am currently doing an evaluation of the NIOSH Science Blog.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.