this year, the National Centre for Research Methods released a research
paper to waves of interest from academics and researchers alike on
Twitter. Kaisa Puustinen and Rosalind Edwards watched the number of downloads rise rapidly as the paper was passed around through the social media channel.
established academics may all ponder about how many interviews will be
enough when designing their research projects. Sarah Elsie Baker from
Middlesex University and Rosalind Edwards from NCRM decided to tackle
this subject and produced a paper ‘How many qualitative interviews is
enough?’ as part of the NCRM Methods Review series. We hoped that the
paper would be popular, but were surprised to observe just how well it
took off on Twitter.
afternoon on Monday 26th March and was first tweeted to our followers
the following day. The paper caught the interest of NCRM Twitter
followers and within 24h it was retweeted 10 times to over 5000
followers and shared 135 times using social sharing tools (email,
microblogging, social bookmarking, social networking) available on NCRM
website. This resulted in 861 downloads within 24 hours of the first
tweet about our paper. This was clearly a Twitter effect, as the paper
was not publicised anywhere else at that time.
- This graph illustrates the download trend and the publicity actions for the paper ‘How many qualitative interviews is enough?’ during 26th March and 14th May 2012.
of the paper, it has been downloaded 3936 times and shared 518 times
using social sharing tools, making this paper one of the NCRM’s most
popular papers ever.
debate about changing forms of academic dissemination focuses a lot on
the pros and cons of engaging audiences in social media, making research
open access and whether hard-copy publication is a thing of the past.
The question of resources, time and budgets may force many academics to
evaluate their dissemination methods and ask themselves whether it is
worth spending £1000 out of the research budget on having a print poster
or a brochure designed, printed and posted, or whether they should
simply spend a single hour each week engaging (but not
spamming) on social media platforms and reaching far wider audiences
than any print material ever could. In addition to being mindful about
good use of resources, personal online reputation and being in control
of it should be of interest to every academic.
research online has made sharing easy, which is in everyone’s interest
(perhaps apart from conventional commercial publishers). Universities
and research centres can encourage the sharing and uptake of their
research by integrating sharing tools, and individual researchers can
promote their own and their colleagues’ research by blogging and
tweeting about it.
agenda in everyone’s mind but with no consensus on how best to
demonstrate the impact of research, at NCRM we have set Key Performance
Indicators for the website, in addition to monitoring the performance of
some of the print materials via print-specific website addresses and QR
codes. By making sure that not only do we publicise NCRM research, but
also are able to track the effectiveness of those publicity activities,
we trust that we will be in a good position to demonstrate the short and
long-term impacts of our research.
Impact of Social Sciences – Who gives a tweet? After 24 hours and 860 downloads, we think quite a few actually do