Digital Researcher #druwe Feb 2012

On Wednesday the 1st February, we ran a workshop at UWE on the use of social media in the context of research. This follows on from a similar workshop that we ran in June 2011 for researchers and a workshop in December for researcher skills developers from the SW and Wales.

This time I was joined by John Igoe from Vitae, the website development manager and all round digitally literate bod to co-facilitate the day. John is also the project manager for one of the JISC funded programmes entitled “Developing Digital Literacies”

We have been practicing what we preach in the period leading up to the workshop by using online tools to collaborate in working up a programme for the day. The prezi we used is below.

John & I didn’t meet face to face to prepare the content for this workshop (although we do know each other reasonably well) so we used online collaboration tools to shape the content for the day.

Prezi was used to make the presentation which you can edit remotely & collaboratively. We used the direct messaging function on twitter to make suggestions and google docs to record our thoughts on the order of the programme–

Download this file

We started out the morning by highlighting some of the hopes & fears that researchers have about using social media tools…



Basic overview of what is out there

Getting research out there

To become more aware of others with similar interest & activities to my own

Catch up with colleagues who use twitter/blogs naturally

Which button do I press?

How to quantify opinion (or research data) gathered via social media tools


Maintaining privacy

Managing a digital reputation

How do I edit the digital me?

Will this become another distraction?

I fear that I have been brainwashed by Clay Shirky‘s Cognitive Surplus too much!

Digital Identity

We spent some time discussing online identity, how to balance the “personal me” vs the “professional me”, how different tools lend themselves to different purposes and how actively managing information about yourself is a good thing to do.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it”.Erik Qualman


We asked the participants to use twitter to interact with their networks using the hashtag #druwe!/ZeeniyaKamil/status/164670413316698112

Power of networks

We discussed a little bit of network theory, illustrated by this video for a TEDx talk by Zella King

Managing information overload

We had a look at portals and aggregators to help manage information streams.

Using social media tools in research

We discussed how research is social & iterative, the benefits of engaging with folks far and wide about your research outputs and how to use tools to make the finding out about knowledge a little easier. We had a play around with some social citation tools, e.g. CiteULike, Zotero & Mendeley


We discussed why folks blog – a variety of reasons including:- organising thoughts, mind dump, getting feedback at an early stage etc.

This blog is a just one such example!


Summed up with “Common sense!”

Other sources of information

Here’s a list of things that I have come across recently on the topic of social media in research (clearly not exhaustive!)

A blog about blogging in an academic research context from Imperial College – some really interesting advice and guidance here.

The Networked Researcher blog site which promotes the use of social media tools for researchers – “Digital Professionalism – what not to share”

The British Library – Help for Researchers – “Web 2.0 as a social science research tool”

The Guardian Higher Education site – discussing benefits of blogging as a researcher – “How blogging helped me find my research voice”

The Research Information Network site – “Social Media: A Guide for Researchers”

Thanks to the researcher who attended both physically and virtually!

9 thoughts on “Digital Researcher #druwe Feb 2012

  1. I thought I was fairly versed in Social Media, but through this workshop I gained a great insight into aggregators such as Google Reader and Mendeley … Really interesting tools for organising online data. Great help, thanks

  2. Great workshop from Paul and John today. I will definitely be using my new knowledge to take my social media skills to the next level – starting with Google Reader.

  3. Great day. Very informative for a ludite like me. Its given me a clear picture of what I should address in terms of social networking to both aid my research and my professional profile. Thanks.

  4. A thought provoking day – I may need a month (or so) to digest the wealth of information. I wondered at what point will workshops like this become mandatory for University employers?

  5. Pingback: Digital Researcher #druwe March 2013 | The Digitally Connected Researcher

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