A Real-time Web Application for Tracking Twitter Exchanges about Research
IDS Evidence Report 177
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Understanding how people engage with research is an increasingly important issue, and not just for researchers. Funders, the media, politicians and ultimately the wider public are increasingly concerned about value for money and maximising the impact of research investment. But establishing what kind of impact research actually has is no trivial task. A good place to start, however, is to try to learn something about how the ideas contained within research are being discussed in the wider world.
In the online world, public spaces have long been used as arenas for introducing, discussing and commenting on research. It was this that led to the development of the World Wide Web itself. Since then, the proliferation of platforms and services to support online debate, and especially the rise of social media networks, has meant that exchanges between people in the digital world are increasingly leaving information-rich electronic trails behind them. These data trails are, in many cases, freely available for public scrutiny. In principle it is now possible to capture and analyse some of these trails and to use this analysis to shed light on how people engage with research ideas in social spaces.