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BUS370 Research Skills Guide: Using Social Media

Why use social media for research?

Researchers are no longer to limited to disseminating their findings solely by publishing articles in journals.  Social media is increasingly being used as a platform for experts to share their research findings, as well as allowing them to market and promote their published works. By following experts in your field through social media you can keep up with the very latest in what's happening in your area of interest.

Whilst there are many social media platforms that you can use to follow experts in your field, this section focuses on just two: Twitter and blogs.

It is very important to evaluate to evaluate the information you find through social media to ensure that it meets the criteria for scholarly content.

Check out the Evaluating tab in the MGT100 Research Skills Guide to discover how to evaluate what you find.

Tip: Take a look at the Your Digital Life modules for further advice on using social media to build your online presence and develop professional networks.

Using Twitter for research

Twitter- Using hashtags and keywords to find articles

Hashtags are a way of grouping together twitter posts, or 'tweets', by topic.

There is a lot of information available on the web! Searching Twitter by using hashtags, in combination with keyword searching, allows you to limit the flow of information to your specific interests. The example below uses the hashtag #nutrition and the keyword 'study'.

Using blogs for research

Blogs are typically used by researchers to reach wider audiences.  Unlike journal articles, blog content typically utilises a plain English language style instead of discipline-specific jargon and scholarly expression.  Blogs can be good sources of information, however the credibility of blogs can vary. This is why it is important to evaluate what you find.

  • Blogs on organizational websites have some research credibility
  • Personal blogs have little research credibility
  • All blogs should be treated as popular rather than scholarly sources.  However, blog posts from credible sources can contain links to the original research upon which the blog post was based, as well as other related published journal articles.  These would be appropriate to use in your assessments.  Again, it is important to evaluate what you find

Tip: Use a blog feed reader such as Feedly to view and keep track of the blog posts you've read, all in the one place. 

How academics use blogs to share research and ideas

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