What Works: Social Media - call for evidence

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Last year, the NCCPE commissioned a short piece of desk research to explore the use of social media in engaging the public with research. The researcher found:

  • Researchers are mainly using social media for the purposes of peer-to-peer networking and dissemination, and many receive support from their universities to do so.
  • Significantly fewer researchers use social media to open up conversations or invite collaboration from the public.
  • Reasons for this could include
    • Social media may not be currently perceived by academic as a suitable means to engage the public with university research. By contrast, many large public facing commercial organisations run sophisticated public engagement programmes primarily through social media.
    • Concerns that we may lack rigorous analytical tools for engagement through social media
    • Guidance from universities tends to focus only on dissemination and peer-to-peer networking; support materials are often out of date and cover only the most rudimentary basics of social networking.
    • Researchers may be reluctant to embrace social media, because it is still not highly regarded by some sections of the academic community.
    • Researchers may be concerned about how others may respond to their comments, and how quickly this can escalate

We are now looking to develop support for academics who want to engage the public using social media, and we are keen to hear from you!

What excellent practice have we missed? Have you researched the use of social media and have ideas of how to make this work well? Do you have tools to support people wanting to enhance their work in this area? Have you come up with ways of addressing the challenges to engaging in this way? If so please respond to our call for evidence. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 6th March 2018. 

Please note, we plan to synthesise the learning from contributions during the ‘What Works’ event and will credit contributors when their work is included in the toolkit. We will share the outputs from this work under a creative commons licence – where people can make use of the resource for non-commercial educational purposes, as long as they credit where it came from. If you are happy for your content to be used in this way please click next page. If not, or for further information please email stephanie.todd@uwe.ac.uk who will be pleased to help.