My experience blogging in 2012

I figured I would write a brief post about my experience blogging. I created this blog and published my first post in December of 2011. Since then, in 2012, I published 30 blog posts, and totaled 7,200 views. While I thought the number was quite high (albeit a bit dissapointing compared to the numbers of Larry Wasserman), it is still many more people than would have listened to what I had to say if I didn’t write a blog. When starting out I averaged under 10 views a day, but throughout the year it steadily grew, and now I average about 30 views per day. The post that had the most traffic in one day was When should we use a black background for a map?, and that was largely because of some twitter traffic (a result of Steven Romalewski tweeting it and then it being re-tweeted by Kenneth Field), and it had 73 views.

I started the blog because I really loved reading alot of others blogs, and so I hope to encourage others to do so as well. It is a nice venue to share work and opinions for an academic, as it is more flexible and can be less formal than articles. Also much of what I write about I would just consider helpful tips or generic discussion that I wouldn’t get to discuss otherwise (SPSS programming and graph tips will never make it into a publication). One of my main motivations was actually R-Bloggers and the SAS blog roll; I would like a similarly active community for SPSS, but there is none really that I have found outside of the NABBLE forum (some exceptions are Andy Field, The Analysis Factor, Jon Peck and these few posts by a Louis K I only found through the labyrinth that is the IBM developerworks site (note I think you need to be signed in to even see that site), but they certainly aren’t very active and/or don’t write much about SPSS). I assume the best way to remedy that is to lead by example! Most of my more popular posts are ones about SPSS, and I frequently get web-traffic via general google searches of SPSS + something else I blogged about (hacking the template and comparing continuous distributions are my two top posts).

Also the blog is also just another place to highlight my academic work and bring more attention to it. WordPress tells me how often someone clicks a link on the blog, and someone has clicked the link to my CV close to 40 times since I’ve made the blog. Hopefully I have some pre-print journal articles to share on the blog in the near future (as well as my prospectus). My post on my presentation at ASC did not generate much traffic, but I would love to see a similar trend for other criminologists/criminal justicians in the future. My work isn’t perfect for sure, but why not get it out there at least for it to be judged and hopefully get feedback.

I would like to blog more, and I actively try to write something if I haven’t in a few weeks, but I don’t stress about it too much. I certainly have an infinite pool of posts to write about programming and generating graphs in SPSS. I have also thought about talking about historical graphics in criminology and criminal justice, or generally talking about some historical and contemporary crime mapping work. Other potential posts I’d like to write about are a more formal treatment about why I loathe most difference-in-differences designs, and perhaps about the sillyness that can ensue when using null-hypothesis significance testing to determine racial bias. But they will both take more careful elaboration on, so might not be anytime soon.

So in short, SPSSer’s, crime mapper’s, criminologist’s/criminal justician’s, I want you to start blogging, and I will eagerly consume your work (and in the meantime hopefully produce some more useful stuff on my end)!

Presentation at ASC – November, 2012

At the American Society of Criminology conference in Chicago in a few weeks I will be presenting (I can’t link to the actual presentation it appears, but you can search the program for Wheeler and my session will come up). Don’t take this as a final product, but I figured I would put out there the working paper/chapters of my dissertation that are the motivation for my presentation and my current set of slides.

Here is my original abstract I submitted a few months ago, The title of the talk is The Measurement of Small Place Correlates of Crime;

This presentation addresses several problems related with attempting to identify correlates of crime at small units of analysis, such as street segments. In particular the presentation will focus on articulating what we can potentially learn from smaller units of analysis compared to larger aggregations, and relating a variety of different measures of the built environment and demographic characteristics of places to theoretical constructs of interest to crime at places. Preliminary results examining the discriminant and convergent validity of theoretical constructs pertinent to theories for the causes of crime using data from Washington, D.C. will be presented.

This was certainly an over-ambitious abstract (I was still in the process of writing my prospectus when I submitted it). The bulk of the talk will be focused on “What we can learn from small units of analysis?”, and as of now after that as time allows I will present some illustrations of the change of support problem. Sorry to dissapoint, but nothing about convergent or divergent validity of spatial constructs will be presented (I have done no work of interest yet, and I don’t think I would have time to present any findings in anymore than a superficial manner anyway).

Note don’t be scared off by how dull the working paper is, the presentation will certainly be more visual and less mathematical (I will need to update my dissertation to incorporate some more graphical presentations).

Maps and graphis at the end of the talk demonstrating the change of support problem are still in the works (and I will continue to update the presentation on here). Here is a preview though of the first map I made that demonstrates how D.C. disseminates geo-date aggregated and snapped to street segments, making it problematic to mash up with census data.



The presentation time is on Friday at 9:30, and I’m excited to see the other presentations as well. It looks like to me that Pizarro et al.’s related research was recently published in Justice Quarterly, so if you don’t care for my presentation come to see the other presenters!