Social media: A guide for researchers

Added by Catherine Gray on 07 February 2011

Social media is an important technological trend that has big implications for how researchers (and people in general) communicate and collaborate. Researchers have a huge amount to gain from engaging with social media in various aspects of their work.

This guide has been produced by the International Centre for Guidance Studies, and aims to provide the information needed to make an informed decision about using social media and select from the vast range of tools that are available.

One of the most important things that researchers do is to find, use and disseminate information, and social media offers a range of tools which can facilitate this. The guide discusses the use of social media for research and academic purposes and will not be examining the many other uses that social media is put to across society.

Social media can change the way in which you undertake research, and can also open up new forms of communication and dissemination. It has the power to enable researchers to engage in a wide range of dissemination in a highly efficient way.

Web materials 1: Links and resources

Audio and video tools
Blogging and Microblogging tools
Examples of academic and research blogs
Social networking services
Location based tools
Social bookmarking, news and social citation tools
Research and writing collaboration tools
Presentation sharing tools
Project management, meeting and collaboration tools
Information management tools
Virtual worlds

You can access the full list of the above resources here, or download below.

Web materials 2: Researcher case studies

The guide is rooted in the practical experience of its authors and that of the ten social media users that we interviewed as part of the project.  You can read their individual case studies below:


You can download the guide below, as well as documents listing Web materials 1 and 2.  To request hard copies of the guide, email contact@rin.ac.uk

This guide follows on from a related RIN project, If you build it, will they come? (published in 2010), which looked at the extent of adoption of different web 2.0 tools in different subject fields and disciplines, and the different types of researchers who are using them.


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