Twitter for research

Using Twitter for research projects

Twitter can add extra value to almost any research project in several ways:

  • Tweet about each new publication, website update or new blog that the project completes. You could send a tweet that links to your research blog and ask for feedback. For tweeting to work well, always make sure that an open-web full version or summary of every item mentioned is available online. Summarize every article published in closed-web journal on a blog, or lodge an extended summary on your university’s online research repository. Sites like www.scribd.com are useful for depositing open web versions. Tweet about new developments of interest, for instance, relevant government policy changes, think tank reports, or journal articles.
  • Use hashtags (#) to make your materials more visible - like #phdchat. Don’t be afraid to start your own. Use your tweets to cover developments at other related research sites, retweeting any interesting new material. This may seem like helping the competition, but in most research areas the key problem is to get more attention for the area as a whole. Building up a Twitter network of reciprocating research projects can help everyone to keep up to date more easily, improve the standard and pace of debate, and so attract more attention (and funding) into the research area.
  • Twitter provides many opportunities for crowd sourcing research activities across subjects by getting people to help with gathering information, making observations, undertaking data analysis, transcribing and editing documents - all done just for the love of it. Some researchers have also used Twitter to help crowdsource research funding from interested public bodies. 
  • Reaching out to external audiences is a key use of Twitter. Making links with practitioners in business, government, and public policy is easy. Twitter’s brevity, accessibility and immediacy are all very appealing to non-academics. 
  • At the end of each month, Twitter can be used to assess how your tweeting is working for you and your project. Showing the growth in your followers and the number of people who read your research blog can be helpful for funding applications. You could make short notes on:
    • The number of followers you have
    • The names of those who could be useful for future collaboration
    • Invitations to write blog posts or speak at events, which have come via Twitter
    • Number of hits to your own blog posts via Twitter

Creative Commons License
PILOT - Communication, using Twitter in university research and teaching by LSE Public Policy Group and Marion Kelt, GCU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/files/2011/11/Published-Twitter_Guide_Sept_2011.pdf