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  • My name is Beth McGough, I am the Social Media Manager at ProQuest. Today I will be talking about engaging university students through social media.
  • I will introduce you to the study which the information in the presentation is derived.Then look at how students are using social media generally and for research, and how they have been trained on incorporating social media in research activities.I’ll conclude by providing some top level recommendations for engaging with university students through social media.
  • Reached 600 students at degree-granting universities, large and small, representing a broad mix of academic disciplines.Approximately 300 students each were enrolled in US and Canadian institutions.Nearly equal mix of undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Virtually all students, graduate and undergraduate use Facebook. Half of undergraduates, and fewer graduate students use Twitter.Graduate students are more likely to use LinkedIn and Google+.In the other category, there were a handful of responses that mention specific sites for file-sharing, or public or school-hosted sites devoted to academics.Nearly 30% of respondents report visited social media sites 4-6 times per day. Undergraduate students are more likely than graduate students to be heavy users of social media.
  • The use of social media sites for specific tasks provides libraries direction for where to focus social media efforts.Facebook was the most commonly used site for academic tasks.Social media channels are used most often for contacting and sharing information with peers. It is used less often for gathering data, collaborating or organizing research.Social media is used less often for reaching faculty, instructors and librarians. The reason could be that students communicate through other means such as email, live chat, and university hosted tools. In the category Other, these forms of communication, which students are characterizing as social media were used nearly as often as Facebook. So, it is important for libraries to consider their existing communication channels as they consider adding social media into the mix.
  • 61% of students said they do not use social media for research purposes. But, the rest of the study’s findings reveal higher use than indicated here when more specific questions were asked. It appears the responses to this question were highly dependent on how one defines “research or study purposes” and what services constitute “social media.”If a respondent took the question to mean “do you cite Facebook as source” the answer would be no. But when students were asked about specific research and study related activities a different picture emerged.
  • When students were asked if they’d received training in the use of social media for research purposes the majority had not received training, also the majority did not know where to find training resources.This is an opportunity for librarians to close an information gap through information literacy courses.
  • Students were asked to indicate their interest in library services delivered through social media. Undergraduates were generally more interested than graduate students, but both groups express at least some interest.
  • Based on the study’s findings I’d like to offer some high level recommendations.First, libraries should consider establishing a presence on Facebook and Twitter, if they haven’t already, to share library-related updates. Also Liking and following other organizations at your institution and developing a reciprocal information sharing relationship through Twitter and Facebook would provide additional avenues for the library to promote its services.
  • To serve graduate students librarians should consider setting up a presence on the sites graduate students are active. Creating library moderated LinkedIn groups would provide a space for graduate students to ask and discuss research-related questions. Similarly, groups could be set up on Google+.The library can also provide or connect students with collaborative tools for organizing research, managing citations, and sharing research, if it doesn’t already.
  • Libraries have a great opportunity to fill a gap and can include social media for research in information literacy instruction.The social media features of databases and research tools can be discussed.Students can be shown how to connect with librarians through social media.Also, students can be shown how to connect with researchers in their discipline through social media. For example, teaching students how to participate in a Twitter chat.Graduate students can be introduced to other sites with discipline-specific communities, like Quora or Wikipedia.Librarians can also introduce other tools to help students collaborate and share research such as Dropbox or Google Drive. This is also an opportunity to highlight services offered by the library or school.
  • If you’d like to explore this topic further you will find a whitepaper and infographic on ProQuest’s SlideShare site via the links above.


  • 1. ENGAGING STUDENTS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA Session: Engaging with Social Media Beth McGough, ProQuest elizabeth.mcgough@proquest.com
  • 2. Agenda • • • • • Introduction Use of social media Social media for study and research Training in the use of social media Recommendations #InternetLibrarian 2
  • 3. Introduction 3
  • 4. Overall findings Students use social media to seek out, collaborate and obtain information from classmates and academic peers Even if they are not interacting with the library they are open to doing so Enabling and fostering the use of social media for organizing and sharing research is an ideal role for libraries However, the study revealed students do not consider social media an appropriate information source for research 4
  • 5. USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA Among graduate and undergraduate students
  • 6. Use of social media 6
  • 7. Use of social media for specific tasks 7
  • 9. Social media for study and research 9
  • 10. Training in the use of social media 10
  • 11. Interest in library services through social media 11
  • 13. Recommendations: Use of social media 1 2 3 • Consider establishing a presence on Facebook and Twitter if you have not already • Post regular library-related updates • “Follow” or “Like” prominent individuals and academic/student organizations, encourage them to share library posts with their networks 13
  • 14. Recommendations: Current and likely use of social media 1 2 3 • Set up LinkedIn groups, specific to academic disciplines for access by graduate students in particular • Secondarily, establish a page on Google+ and create groups specific to academic disciplines • Create community pages or sites for specific academic disciplines, hosted by the library • Provide online tools for organizing research, managing citations, sharing and collaboration, such as RefWorks Flow or Mendeley 14
  • 15. Recommendations: Training in the use of social media 1 2 • Expand information-literacy instruction to include social media for research • Teach students about the social media features of online databases and research tools • Show students how to connect with librarians through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn • Teach students to connect with researchers in their discipline through social media, such as how to participate in a Twitter chat 3 • Introduce and inform graduate students about other sites with discipline-specific communities, such as Quora and the editing side of Wikipedia 4 • Consider including tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and school services such as an intranet or Blackboard/Moodle in information-literacy efforts 15
  • 16. QUESTIONS Whitepaper, Student Use of Social Media, http://prq.st/1ca9AcB Infographic, Student Use of Social Media, http://prq.st/1b8pgYw elizabeth.mcgough@proquest.com @BethMcGough79