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Inquiry: How does research actually use social media?

Whether researchers use social media for external science communication is influenced by many factors. So far, however, there have been hardly any studies that systematically look at these factors. A study by Anne Henning and Sarah Kohler now aims to close this gap. The two authors conducted an online survey among scientists at German universities; ultimately, 1,028 participated in the survey.

Source: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The survey

On the one hand, the survey asked for what purpose – private, professional or external science communication – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, blogs and podcast are used. Second, a number of possible influencing factors that have already been defined in previous studies were queried. These were categorized into the three areas of personal characteristics, disciplinary affiliation, and professional context.

The conclusion

“For science communication, social media offerings are used rather rarely on the whole,” Henning and Kohler note. There is one exception, however. Twitter is used at least weekly by about 16 percent of participants to communicate with experts outside science about research or by 14.5 percent of them to communicate with laypeople. The second-place Facebook was used by only about 4 and 5 percent, respectively.

Read more in detail here..

Anne-Christine Habbel

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