What do readers think of this blog? Results of audience survey

Executive wonku (see below): Lots of folk like it but want fights, shorter posts and more southern voices Wow. As promised here are the results of the online survey of users of this blog, crunched by the amazing elves in Oxfam’s market research department. Just as well, as the response was far greater than I ever anticipated – 266 completed questionnaires, and a pile of really useful suggestions. In the spirit of transparency etc etc, here are the summary powerpoint and full collection of comments. Happy digging. Here’s the headlines, plus my running commentary. And please remember throughout that this is a self-selecting sample of ‘people with time and willingness to fill in surveys’, and so may not fully represent the monumental indifference of the full range of readers. First, the stats Who reads it (and answers surveys)? The top 3 types of blog reader are ‘Academic/students’ (28%), ‘other (i.e. non Oxfam) NGO staff’ (22%) and ‘other’ (18%). The ‘other’ responses were generally consultants and researchers. Oxfam staff make up 16% of the blog readership. The male/female split is 54/46, (more balanced than I feared, given heavy male bias of bloggers on development). Main age range of respondents is 25-34. Most of you read the blog 1-3 times a week (52%) or more than 4 times a week (34%). 78% of you describe the blog as ‘very useful’ or ‘slightly useful’. Why did the rest of you bother to take the survey? And as for the 1% who find it ‘not useful at all’, I think you three saddoes need to think about how you spend your time. The majority of readers (81%) think that the amount I blog at the moment is ‘about right’ and (74%) think that it is successful in ‘provoking debate and conversation about development issues’. You prefer ‘original articles’ (1.61), ‘summaries of other research’ (2.68) and ‘summaries of Oxfam research’ (3.5) more than other post topics. Thought so – the more work required from me, the more you like it. Sadists. The other blogs you read are Chris Blattman, Aid Watch and Owen Barder. However 12.7% of YOU only read the FP2P blog (check out the blogroll to the right, guys – it’s worth it). And some of the most useful comments? 1. The posts are too long! Sorry folks, will try and do some shorter ones, but also a very good suggestion to provide a one sentence summary of the main ‘takeaway’ at the top of the longer pieces. I might even do it as a wonku – see top of this post. 2. More voices and experiences from the South. Yep, you’re right. Except when I travel (and I’m off to Vietnam next week, so expect some stuff from there), it’s all a bit too DFID, World Bank, northern academic and Oxfam HQ in tone. Could readers please help by pointing me to the best alternative sources? And you NGO-ers, I’m looking to you for some help with this. Ditto for volunteers and suggestions for guest bloggers, especially from the South. 3. I should a) be more controversial and b) respond to comments. There are limits on my willingness to pick fights, however entertaining, partly due to my wimpy temperament and partly by this being an Oxfam-hosted blog (though not always an on-message one). Responding to comments is always a good idea, it’s just the time issue, but I will try and be more interactive in future (maybe I can use the time freed up by writing shorter posts). 4. Excavating the archive a bit more: people want to be able to explore past content, what’s been most popular etc. Will talk to blogmaster Eddy about that and a number of the other technical suggestions and beefs. 5. Translate it into Spanish? No need – my opposite number at Oxfam Intermon in Spain, Gonzalo Fanjul, is up and blogging (and is much cleverer and funnier than I could ever be) As for the person who wants me to provide ‘more critical analysis of OGB material’ – nice try, but it ain’t gonna happen on this blog. Sorry. An enormous thanks to everyone who took the time to fill it in – I will do my best to make it worth your while by listening to the suggestions. Starting with today’s executive wonku. But not the short post. Sorry.]]>

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9 Responses to “What do readers think of this blog? Results of audience survey”
  1. Sally L

    I’ve only recently found the Blog – so not part of survey. But just wanted to say how much I enjoy it. I like the varied nature of the Blogs and as supporter of Oxfam & a part-time voluntary campaigner find the information you share very helpful to give some depth & data to my discussions with friends.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Stephen Jones

    I vote for more executive wonkus too. Far more elegant than trying Twitter summaries…
    Duncan: Yeah, but a terribly seductive way to waste my time!

  3. Nicholas Colloff

    Have n’t you finished reading Violence and Social Orders yet:-)?
    I only take part in surveys that offer cash prizes or free holidays; however, I much appreciate the blog for its lucidity, interest and useful summaries that cushion my laziness! Long may it continue…
    Duncan: No, Violence and Social Orders stares balefully at me on my desk. Think I may delete the ‘what I’m reading’ slot as too revealing…….

  4. Stephen Jones

    Also, interesting to see the short posts and more fights demands… don’t we all get those options from reading Chris Blattman and Aidwatch (respectively) too?
    Duncan: Exactly. This blog specializes in mellow, reflective op-ed type stuff. But nice blogs don’t get read, right?

  5. Phillip

    This blog is the only place I know of where I can find great summaries and analysis of all the most important development research out there. That is an invaluable service. Please don’t allow greater desire for opinion pieces and debate to undermine that!

  6. Claudia

    Oh man,
    I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and you make a survey when I am far away from the crime scene?
    I don’t believe anyone reads and checks your links and references more than I do, damn, what can I say now, don’t do anything crazy, please don’t change anything around here…
    Duncan: nice to have you back Claudia – I was wondering where you had got to!

  7. Sam K-M

    I also was away during the survey, but I really enjoy this blog, so please don’t change it too much! It’s great as a summary of the big issues and current debates for a time poor Australian development public servant! Love the executive wonku idea. Perhaps if you don’t have time, your readers could come up with some for you in the comments section? Also a fan of the ‘links I liked’ kind of post.

  8. Shupiwe

    Hi Duncan,
    Me again.
    Just one question about getting more input from the South. Why not invite people from the South to host your blog from time to time?
    Cheers, Shupiwe
    Ps do you ever comment on these old posts?

    • Duncan

      good suggestion Shupiwe, guest posts tend to be a bit ad hoc, and usually arise out of conversations, so I guess that skews it towards who I’m talking to at any given point. I’ll give it some thought