Twittering on about research: Using social media to develop doctoral researchers
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Twittering on about research: Using social media to develop doctoral researchers






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  • Show of hands for Twitter usersFeel free to tweet during the session using @drkatyvigurs and #EduConfSUWhat is this session about? What is the focus?Who are postgraduate researchers (PGRs)? What is the relationship to social media?What do I want the audience to get out of the workshop?
  • That of a past PGRThat of an academic who supports PGRs as a core part of my professional roleI continually reflect on my past PGR experience to inform how current and future PGRs’ experiences can be developed and improved.
  • Moral support & encouragementAcademic help & practical adviceNeed to be part of a culture that is academically and socially inclusive
  • In the medium term, the findings from the evaluation of the project should inform the Faculty’s and University’s approach to using social media to support doctoral students.

Twittering on about research: Using social media to develop doctoral researchers Twittering on about research: Using social media to develop doctoral researchers Presentation Transcript

  • Who are postgraduate What skills on Twittering and about research: researchers (PGRs)? abilities do they need Using develop? media to develop How might social to social media help PGRs? postgraduate researchers (PGRs)? What can we do to find out? Dr Katy Vigurs @drkatyvigurs #EduConfSU
  • Where does my position on PGRs stem from? 2001 New mum New PGR student New to social research 2013 Postgraduate Award Leader Doctoral Supervisor Educational researcher
  • What challenges do PGRs face? £££ issues – cost of opportunities Is my research important? Sustaining motivation & enthusiasm Completing on time Crisis of confidence. Can I do this? Who am I? Am I a student or a researcher? Loneliness / isolation Feel in limbo / a spare part Precarious juggling act Out of the loop. Why don’t I know what’s going on?
  • What areas of support do PGRs need? Searching & accessing academic literature Moral / emotional Contacts & networks Critical evaluation of others’ research Research design & management Research methods theory & application Academic writing Presenting your research to others Developing a researcher identity & reputation Research ethics
  • Vitae: What skills & abilities should PGRs be developing? Researcher Development Framework (2010) Domain A: Knowledge & Intellectual abilities Domain B: Personal Effectiveness Domain C: Research governance and organisation Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
  • Domain A: Knowledge & PGRs develop? What skills shouldIntellectual abilities A1 Knowledge base 1. Subject knowledge 2. Research methods: theoretical knowledge 3. Research methods: practical application 4. Information seeking 5. Information literacy & management 6. Languages 7. Academic literacy & numeracy A2 Cognitive abilities A3 Creativity 1. Inquiring mind 2. Intellectual insight Critical thinking 3. Innovation 1. Evaluating 4. 1. Problem solving Argument construction 5. Intellectual risk 1. Analysing 1. Synthesising 1.
  • What Domain B: Personal Effectiveness skills should PGRs develop? B1 Personal qualities B2 Selfmanagement B3 Professional and career development 1. 1. Enthusiasm 2. Perseverance 3. Integrity 4. 2. 1. Career management Continuing professional development Preparation & prioritisation 2. Commitment to research Self-confidence 3. Time management 3. Responsiveness to opportunities 5. Self-reflection 4. Responsiveness to change 4. Networking 6. Responsibility Work-life balance 5. Reputation and esteem 5.
  • Domain C: Research governance and develop? What skills should PGRs organisation C1 Professional conduct 1. Health and safety 2. Ethics, principles & sustainability 3. Legal requirements 4. IPR & copyright 5. Respect & confidentiality 6. Attribution & coauthorship 7. Appropriate practice C2 Research management C3 Finance, funding & resources 1. Income & funding generation 1. Research strategy 2. Project planning & delivery 2. Financial management 3. Risk management 3. Infrastructures & resources
  • Domain D: Engagement, influence develop? What skills should PGRs and impact D1 Working with others 1. Collegiality 2. Team working 3. Supervision 5. Mentoring 6. Influence & leadership 7. Collaboration 8. Equality & diversity 1. People management 4. D2 Communication & dissemination 2. 3. Communication methods Communication media Publication D3 Engagement & impact 1. Teaching 2. Public engagement 3. Enterprise 4. Policy 5. Society & culture 6. Global citizenship
  • What abilities did I develop as a PGR? Strategies for searching & accessing academic literature Networking. Building contacts Critical approach to evaluating others’ research Research design & management Research methods theory & application Academic writing Presenting my research to others Developed a researcher identity Ethical approach to research
  • How did I develop these skills? Advice and support from supervisory team, academic librarians, other PGRs Identified individuals, journals & organisations central to research interests. Followed them. Identified & attended research conferences & seminars Read a lot of texts – didn’t read for pleasure when a PGR Volunteered to help on other research projects Did a lot of writing & sought constructive criticism Presented at conferences & seminars Prioritised developing a researcher identity – made sacrifices Learned from observing others’ practices Said ‘yes’ to select opportunities & ‘no’ to many more
  • Did I use social media for academic purposes? Was I a digital PGR?
  • Which skills & abilities might be enhanced using social media? Subject knowledge, Research methods knowledge, Info seeking & management, Language, Academic literacy, Critical thinking, Evaluating, Inquiring mind, Intellectual insight, Argument construction. Enthusiasm, Self-confidence, Self-reflection, Responsibility, Preparation & prioritisation, Commitment to research Ethics & principles, Respect, Co-authorship, Appropriate practice, Research Strategy, Project planning, Funding generation, Infrastructure & resources Collegiality, Team working, Supervision, Mentoring, Collaboration, Communication methods & media, Publication, Teaching, Public engagement, Enterprise, Policy, Society & culture, Global citizenship
  • How do I use Twitter for academic purposes?  Find out what other people are thinking & doing in your area of research & professional practice: identify & follow academics, researchers, policy makers, teachers, educational organisations, colleagues & students. Locally, nationally & internationally. Respond to their questions & ideas.  Make yourself & your practices visible: Tweet regularly about what you are thinking & doing (academically & professionally)  Rally up support: Tweet questions at those you follow and your followers. Have conversations with your followers.  Share unique content: Tweet interesting & relevant links whenever possible.  Learn from others: Observe others’ critical thinking in action on your subject area.  Respond to opportunities tweeted by others
  • So how might we investigate the value of social media for developing PGRs? Potential Research Questions  In what ways is the use of Twitter (within and beyond the classroom) of value for processes of doctoral learning?  In what ways does Twitter usage by doctoral students and staff allow the building of communities of practice:  within a cohort of learners?  between two cohorts of learners?  between learners and a range of academics, practitioners and doctoral students beyond the University?
  • Proposed Objectives:  To produce an initial Doctorate in Education (EdD) Social Media Strategy, particularly focusing on the use of Twitter for effective doctoral learning.  To use this initial EdD Social Media Strategy to run a staff development workshop for the EdD programme team in 2013-14.  To use this initial EdD Social Media Strategy to run a ‘Twitter for Doctoral Purposes’ workshop for the EdD students in 2013-14.  To trial the use of Twitter for doctoral learning within the professional doctorate classroom with a cohort or Year 1 EdD students and a cohort of Year 2 EdD students.  To trial EdD students’ use of Twitter for doctoral learning outside the classroom.  To evaluate from both staff and students’ perspectives the process and value of using Twitter, within and beyond the classroom, to build an effective, active and engaged community of practice.
  • Short term: Intended outcomes  To impact positively on the doctoral learning experience of EdD students by introducing and developing their use of Twitter for academic purposes  To impact positively upon their dialogic interaction with their peers and staff, as well as other academics, professionals and doctoral students outside the University.  To develop their confidence and autonomy in relation to ‘becoming a researcher’, as well as being able to practice their ‘critical voice’ in a public sphere.
  • Short term: Intended outputs  Draft School of Education Social Media Strategy for PGRs  Project Blog  Project Evaluation Report  Presentation of findings at a range of Faculty and University events.
  • References  Burgess, H., Sieminski, S. and Arthur, L. (2006) Achieving your Doctorate in Education, London: Sage.  Crossouard, B. and Pryor, J. (2008) Becoming researchers: a sociocultural perspective on assessment, learning and the construction of identity in a professional doctorate, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 16 (3), 221-237.  Drake, P. (2011) Practitioner Research at Doctoral Level, Abingdon: Routledge.  Green, B. (2009) Doctoral education in transition, in D. Boud and A. Lee (Eds) Changing Practices of Doctoral Education, Abingdon: Routledge.  Minocha, S. and Petre, M. (2012) Handbook of social media for researchers and supervisors: digital technologies for researcher dialogues, Cambridge: Vitae.  Lee, N. (2009) Achieving your Professional Doctorate, Maidenhead: OU Press.  Lee, A. and Aitchison, C. (2009) Writing for the doctorate and beyond, in D. Boud and A. Lee (Eds) Changing Practices of Doctoral Education, Abingdon: Routledge.  Leonard, D., Metcalfe, J., Becker, R. and Evans, J. (2006) Review of the literature on the doctoral experience for the Higher Education Academy, Cambridge: Institute of Education and UK GRAD Programme.  Leonard, D. and Becker, R. (2009) Enhancing the doctoral experience at the local level, in D. Boud and A. Lee (Eds) Changing Practices of Doctoral Education, Abingdon: Routledge.  Mollet, A., Moran, D. and Dunleavy, P. (2010) Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities: A guide for academics and researchers, London: LSE Public Policy Group.  Vitae (2010) Researcher Development Framework, Cambridge: Vitae. Available at