10 Ways Researchers Can Use Twitter

Today Salma Patel considers 10 ways that researchers could use the micro-blogging tool twitter. Salma is a doctoral researcher at the University of Warwick with a primary research interest in digital engagement and participation in healthcare. She has a background in computing, web design, education, librarianship and management. She blogs at http://salmapatel.com and you can follow her on twitter @salma_patel.

The purpose of networked researcher is to introduce, promote and support the use of social media and digital technology in research and researcher development. As such todays post is available on prezi here and storify here.

1. Join the research community: There is a large research community on twitter. For example:

#phdchat is one such example of a doctoral research community, where tweeps (people that use Twitter) share experiences of their PhD and advise fellow researchers. #phdchat also runs a live chat on twitter which runs on a Wednesday evening at 7.30pm BST.

#twitjc is a Twitter Journal Club which provides a place where doctors, researchers, authors and medical students can discuss publications relevant to clinical medicine. It runs at 8pm every Sunday and has so far it has attracted 950 followers.

2. Share your research and publications: Using Twitter you can share your research or disseminate your findings. It is also an effective way to share your publications or conference papers/posters. If you are looking for citations and hits to your article, it is a good way to achieve this.

3. Interact with the ‘outside world’: It is an easy way to keep up with the outside world, whether that is fellow colleagues, researchers from other universities, companies in your industry or even conferences. You will be updated about conference dates and submission deadlines.

4. Get answers to your research related questions: On twitter there are many helpful people who will answer your questions, whether they are research related questions, questions related to your study, or questions related to your own interests.

5. Network: Twitter is a useful networking tool, using which you can meet people who follow similar interests to you. As a researcher interested in healthcare and technology, I have ‘met’ many people from the healthcare industry and also many doctoral researchers. You can also use twitter to recruit participants for any of your studies.

6. Share your experiences: It is a good idea to share your experiences, whether they are research related or otherwise. Once you share your experience (whether positive or negative) you will soon find others who are experiencing the same, if not similar experience, and you can have a good ‘ole banter together; but more importantly, learn from each other too.

7. Keep tabs on your competition: Who is doing what and when? This will give you a good idea of what is going on in your field. You could fade in the background and just keep tabs on everyone else.

8. Collaborate: Have you got an idea but unsure whether it will work? Or are you thinking of using a research methodology but unsure whether it is appropriate? Send out a tweet with an appropriate hashtag (such as #phdchat for research issues) and before you know it, they’ll be others giving you (free) advice!

9. Keep up-to-date with your research: Follow people who have similar interests to you and you will be updated with all the research in your area (again for free!). No need to worry about missing out now.

10. Follow conferences you can’t attend: Use Twitter is to follow conferences that you can’t attend. People attending a certain conference usually tweet using the conferences #hashtag. As long as you know the #hashtag, you can read the entire on goings and sometimes even pose questions to the presenters through other twitter users at the conference. Interact without paying the conference fee!

Can you think of other ways twitter could be used by researchers?


About Salma Patel

Salma Patel is a doctoral researcher at the University of Warwick with a primary research interest in digital engagement and participation in healthcare. She has a background in computing, web design, education, librarianship and management. You can follow her on twitter: @salma_patel

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