Social Media: a guide for researchers


Work data:

Type of work: Handbook/Primer/Guide


Social Media & Social Software


e-research, e-science


This guide will show you how you can use social media to help your research and your career. Social media have big implications for how researchers (and people in general) communicate and collaborate. Researchers have much to gain from engaging with social media in various aspects of their work. This guide will provide you with information to make an informed decision about using social media and enable you to select wisely from the vast range of tools that are available.

Given the buzz in the media, you may feel that social media are aimed at teenagers and mainly used to discuss celebrity culture. But this guide will show you how social media offer researchers an opportunity to improve the way they work. One of the most important things that researchers do is to find, use and disseminate information, and social media offer a range of tools which can facilitate these activities. The guide discusses the use of social media for research and academic purposes, rather than the many other uses that they are put to across society.

This guide will show how social media can change the ways in which you undertake research, and open up new forms of communication and dissemination. The researchers we interviewed in the development of this guide are using social media to bridge disciplinary boundaries, to engage in knowledge exchange with industry and policy makers, and to provide a channel for the public communication of their research.

The guide is rooted in the practical experience of its authors and of the ten social media users we interviewed as part of the project. We are not trying to present social media as the answer to every problem a researcher might experience; rather, we want to give a ‘warts and all’ picture. Social media have downsides as well as upsides, but on balance we hope that you will agree with us that there is real value for researchers.