Blogs, Research Papers, and Operations Research

There’s an interesting thread on twitter this morning about making Operations Research accessible:

I think everyone is right! I have three types of readers for my analytics posts: 

  • Active researchers or experts
  • Technically oriented readers who aren’t experts in an analytics-related discipline, e.g. software engineers
  • Everyone else

These groups roughly correspond to “shipbuilders”, “sailors”, and “passengers” using the analogy in this post. A single blog post may not satisfy all these parties, even if well written! Experts may well prefer a research paper. Developers may well prefer a link to github. General interest readers may prefer a one paragraph overview, an interactive visual, or simply “the answer”. All of these things are good, and I have found that all three groups can sometimes benefit from content intended for only one.

You can supplement a blog post with any or all of these additional materials, or break a post into two: one that explains the problem and the answer, and another that describes the solution methodology. (Here is an example from a few years ago: problem and methodology.) Consider writing blog posts for your research papers or projects before the project is complete. This will give you practice explaining the topic to an audience, and provides the opportunity for early feedback.

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Author: natebrix

Follow me on twitter at @natebrix.

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