Using Twitter for Research Projects

Twitter can add extra value to most research projects. It is especially powerful when used in combination with a website and blog. See below:

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  • The role of the website is to house official information about the project in its full form.
  • The blog is a great way to connect with the research community and build a narrative around the evolution of the project. Blogs are a good place to summarise articles, get feedback and have online discussions.
  • The Twitter account is perfect for engaging with others in the field and releasing bite-sized project updates, for example a new publication, event, or development. When referring to project documents the tweet should refer to full versions held on the website.

Using these three platforms in combination will increase the digital footprint of your research project and help maximise online awareness of it. For example, if you’re looking for feedback a tweet could link to your research blog and ask your followers for their comments.

The Marketing Communications team can help set up blogs, Twitter accounts and microsites and create automated feeds linking them. For more information contact Vic Russell ext.1244.

Examples of how you might use Twitter

  1. Twitter is particularly good for gaining publicity. You could tweet about each new publication, website update or new blog post that the project completes. Your tweet should link to the full version of your findings, publication and events, which should be published on your website. 
  2. Tweet about new developments of interest from the project’s point of view, for instance, relevant government policy changes, think tank reports, or journal articles.
  3. Help raise the profile of the research area by using your tweets to cover developments at other related research sites, and retweeting interesting new material that they produce. 
  4. Building a Twitter network of reciprocating research projects can help keep the community up to date, raise its profile, improve the quality of debate, and so attract more attention (and funding) into the research area. Building a network can also help your own profile. 
  5. Twitter can provide a means of  ‘crowd sourcing’ research activities by getting people to help with gathering information, making observations, undertaking data analysis, transcribing and editing documents. Some researchers have also used Twitter to help ‘crowdsource’ research funding from interested public bodies. 
  6. Use Twitter to reach out to external audiences such as practitioners in public policy, business and government.
  7. Your online activity can be used as a metric, for example showing the growth in your Twitter followers or the number of people who read your research blog. These may also be helpful for funding applications. Web traffic reports will show the amount of traffic to your website that has been referred from Twitter or your blog. This will give a sense of its effectiveness.
  8. Use hashtags (#) to make your materials more visible. If a relevant hashtag doesn’t exist for your research area or project you can create your own.

If you are interesting in creating a website, blog, and twitter account to support your research project, please contact Vic Russell ext.1244. The benefits of having an officially created online presence are that:

  • it will be set up for you and training will be provided if needed,
  • it will be branded as an official University site,
  • it will be promoted through the official University social media channels and listed in the A-Z directory,
  • you will have access to ongoing support and monitoring tools.

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