July 16, 2004

Who blogs more, law students or medical students?

Nick Genes, a medical student blogger of some notoriety (i.e., I know about him) asks, "How come law students blog more than medical students?" (Also posted here.)

That law students are more likely to maintain a blog seems to make intuitive sense. I'm always stumbling across law student blogs; discovering a new med student blog seems like a rarer event. It also fits with my experience of both that law students would blog more than medical students. Law students just seem like bloggier people. At least the ones that I've known.

It's harder to confirm these subjective impressions with real numbers. For instance, how many of each kind of blog are there? Nick cites a blog post that compares the number of Google hits for "law student blog" (276,000) to the number for "med student blog" (16,000). But when I tried "medical student blog," I got 113,000 hits. Many of those were European med student blogs, and many others were websites that just mention blogs and medical students, but aren't themselves med student blogs.

Even if we knew exactly how many of each kind of blog existed, we'd have to compare these with the total number of each kind of student. Even though law school is only three years compared to four for med school, there are more than twice as many law students: 138,000 law students, compared with 66,000 medical students (simple math used to get the totals).* This ratio could be reproduced with some highly selective interpretations of the number of blogs based on Google searches, making it seem like law students and medical students are equally likely to blog.

I don't believe it. I think there really are more law student blogs per capita, but I need a more effective way of determining the number of blogs in each category.

Anyone got any bright ideas?

* Medical students: 16,500 first-year seats, times four class years = 66,000 medical students.

Law students: 90,000 total applicants - 44,000 left without a first-year seat = 46,000 first-year seats, times three class years = 138,000 law students.

Posted by Carey at July 16, 2004 12:07 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Glorfindel. Of course, you are known far and wide for ... um... being in that book... and movie ... with the rings and trolls and whatnot.

I, too, never much cared for that original calculation I cited, but it seemed to fit my sense of the matter: law students outnumber med students by at least an order of magnitude on the blogosphere.

Your calculations for law students is very handy, I ran into big problems because one AAMC stat counts Canadian shools (why????) and not DO schools ... I arrived at 50,000 by, um, estimating. I was told there would be no math. Does you law student number include night school / correspondence-classes? Symtym got his JD that way...

I think the best indicator of relative blog numbers might come from comparing aggregators... the medlogs student section is by no means all-inclusive, but it's a good deal smaller than the blawgs.com student list (I don't know other blawg aggregators).

If that doesn't work, maybe comparing "law student" to "medical student" on technorati.com makes for another indicator. I'll give it a try when I get near a broadband.

Posted by: Nick at July 18, 2004 04:32 AM

Alas, I was not included in the movie. My heroic deeds (defending Frodo from the Nazgul before the Ford of Bruinen) were given in the movie to Arwen.

"'Ride on! Ride on!' cried Glorfindel, and then loud and clear he called to the horse in the elf-tongue: noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!"
--Fellowship of the Ring, 'Flight to the Ford'

Posted by: glorfindel at July 18, 2004 04:42 PM

I don't have any ideas for determining exact numbers, but I am sure you are correct. The study of the law lends itself to writing opinions on topics, while the study of medicine does not. Both fields undoubtedly require intellectual discipline; however, law is the study of words and the anatomy of language, rather than the body. I think that alone will lead more law students to blog than med students.

Posted by: -Dave! at July 20, 2004 11:27 AM