Social media as a research tool

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  • Social Media as a Research ToolJon Curwin

    Birmingham City Business School

    Michael Schmidt

    Centre for Academic Success


    15 December 2014

    5. Engaging with the community

    How to contact us:

    4. Space for reflection

    2. Informal interactions

    1. Formal Dialogue

    3. Documentation

    Jon Curwin

    Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow

    Business School

    Michael Schmidt

    Academic Skills Development Tutor

    Centre for Academic Success

    Poster available from:


    With Facebook having some 1.35 billion monthly active users, LinkedIn 187 million and Twitter 284 million, this worldwide phenomena of social media cannot be easily be ignored by a researcher wishing to share ideas and promote their interest.

    These new forms of communication are changing behaviours and expectations ask any politician caught out by Twitter.

    Social media presents new tools for research itself and new ways to support the dialogue between student and supervisor.

    Research has shown (Minocha and Petres 2013) that researchers and supervisors are using social media in six distinctive ways:

    formal dialogue, informal interactions, documentation, space for reflection, engaging with the community and keeping informed.

    In addition to a few academic papers,

    why not:

    Share progress to date on

    A LinkedIn group?

    YouTube (even your own channel)?

    Leave PowerPoint presentations on


    Create a Prezipresentation?

    6. Keeping informed


    Minocha, S and Petres, M (2013) Handbook of Social Media for

    researchers and supervisors, The Open University, [online] Available from:


    [Accessed 4 December 2014]

    Let others see a managed

    public domain profile if they google your


    Give Ted Talks, YouTube, iTunesU, Twitter,

    LinkedIn a go?

    In addition to talking to a

    few colleagues,

    why not:

    In addition to the usual

    mechanisms of meetings and emails, why


    Skypeconferencing with two or

    more researchers?

    A wiki for building a joint understanding of the research

    process and content?

    Video progress statements

    using kalturaor Vimeo or other similar


    In addition to the usual

    mechanisms of meetings and emails,

    why not:

    Try a discussion forum using Moodle or


    Use a social media

    platform like Facebook?

    Tweet to build up an

    interest group?

    Blog new ideas using


    In addition to the usual mechanisms

    of email attachments and external USB

    drive, why not:

    Dropbox, googledrive,

    icloud, onedrive, skydrive?

    Blogging software like WordPress?

    Use an academic referencing system

    like EndNote?

    Create electronic pages using a

    system like Mahara?

    In addition to the usual mechanisms of trying to hang on to

    memories or scraps of paper, why not:

    Mindmap using MindGenius or


    Blog, Tweet or use a Wiki?

    Plan using DropTaskor similar?

    A diagram using Visio?

    Use Wordle to generate a word