Social Media for Research / Les médias sociaux pour la recherche

David Phipps, RIR-York
Can you use social media in your research? Yes! Can you build capacity among research administrators to help researchers use social media in you research? Yes, and Krista Jensen (@atomickitty) shows you how.
Pouvez-vous utiliser les médias sociaux dans vos recherches? Oui! Pouvez-vous développer les compétences des administrateurs de la recherche afin d’aider les chercheurs à employer les médias sociaux dans leurs recherches? Oui, et Krista Jensen (@atomickitty) vous montre comment cela peut être fait.

York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been actively building capacity for social media as a tool for research dissemination and engagement. In 2012, we published a book chapter that presented some social media tools and how they can be used in research and knowledge mobilization. Last year we also provided a variety of social media workshops including on overview of social media, a 2.5 hour twitter for learning and research workshop, a wordpress workshop as well as a workshop on building a social media strategy.

Krista Jensen (@atomickitty)

Krista Jensen (@atomickitty)

This year we were invited by the organizers of the annual Canadian Association of University Research Administrators (CAURA) to host a workshop on social media. The audience was research administrators but the objective was supporting social media strategies for research projects (even though we frequently delved into social media as a tool to support the research services office). Increasingly granting agencies are demanding knowledge mobilization or knowledge translation strategies for grant applications. In February 2012, we gave a knowledge mobilization webinar for CAURA. Increasingly these knowledge mobilization strategies involve social media. Hence the CAURA workshop this year.
We had 13 people show up, which was ideal. There was some hands on group work that would not have been feasible with a larger group. The presentation is available below or here on the KMbYork Slide Share account.
Some of the issues raised by the group included:
  • Resourcing – who does this and how do you pay for it?> Make it someone’s job and ensure research grant budgets have line items for social media including for purchasing pro accounts (an eligible expense on many granting programs)
  • Risks – do you need policies to manage risk created by social media?> Social media is just another channel… have policies to manage risk and ensure that social media use is anticipated in those policies
  • Role of corporate communications?> A great ally so long as they serve for more than brand stewardship
  • Volume – how to manage the volume when you already can’t get through all your e mail?> See resourcing and make it someone’s job for the research office or the research program.
The audience was very engaged. Krista Jensen put the session together and presented 95% of it. The audience appreciated her experience and wisdom. Everyone came back after break (in fact, we picked up one person!). Email and blackberries were almost wholly absent from the session (always a good sign) and evaluations were more than positive. Respondents were asked 5 questions with a maximum score of 5. We received 10 evaluations for a total possible score of 250. Krista received a score of 243/250, a score of 97.2%. And when asked who was thinking differently after the session every hand went up. When asked who will be acting differently after the session about 80% of the hands stayed up.
Thanks Krista for the excellent workshop. And thanks to Gary Myers (@kmbeing) who came along as a social media and knowledge mobilization expert to lend his experience to the discussion.

Knowledge Mobilization Documents Best Practices for Clear Language Research Summaries

The following was originally posted in YFile, York University’s Daily News, on October 23, 2012 and is reposted here with permission.

When it comes to conveying the important research to the broader community, clear language summaries are the best choice, this according to a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Scholarly & Research Communications.

Led by David Phipps, executive director of research & innovation services, and colleagues from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit (KMb), the group put pen to paper to highlight their experiences in summarizing academic research according to clear language writing and design principles over the past four years and how that practice has made research more accessible to the community.

The article titled, “A Field Note Describing the Development and Dissemination of Clear Language Research Summaries for University-Based Knowledge Mobilization”, highlights best practices for the development, evaluation and dissemination of clear language research summaries as tools for research outreach, research communication and knowledge mobilization.  It is co-authored by Michael Johnny, manager, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, Krista Jensen, knowledge mobilization officer at York University and Gary Myers, a community based researcher and author of the blog.

“Working with our partners and faculty to identify relevant research helps make York’s research accessible and useful to our community partners” says Phipps.

York University piloted institutional knowledge mobilization with the University of Victoria in 2005 under a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Since then, York University has grown its knowledge mobilization collaboration with the University of Victoria to include the other four ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities: Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan.

York currently has more than 220 clear language research summaries in a series titled ResearchSnapshot, which is published on Research Impact blog. Working with a cohort of senior undergraduate work study students, the University’s KMb Unit produces between 40 to 50 research summaries every summer.

“York is proud of the work of our award-winning KMb Unit in connecting researchers and students with community partners for social innovation.  As a recognized leader in knowledge mobilization initiatives, York’s work and reputation in this field continues to grow both nationally and internationally,” said Robert Hache, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “The article written by David Phipps and his KMb colleagues provides a framework for others interested in learning more about best practices and York’s initiatives in this area.”

”SRC and its readers are very interested in the communication and use of knowledge as mediated by processes such as knowledge mobilization,” says Rowland Lorimer, SRC editor and director of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. “The work of David Phipps and his knowledge mobilization colleagues at York University is of growing interest to scholars and research partners who are interested in communicating and using knowledge to benefit Canadians. SRC is pleased they have chose to publish their work with us.”

York University’s KMb Unit and the University of Guelph Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship have recently partnered in support of a project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to produce clear language summaries of research at the University of Guelph. The KMb Unit is also working on clear language research summaries with the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health Evidence Exchange Network and the Knowledge Network for Applied Education & Research, a knowledge mobilization network funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Education of which York’s Faculty of Education is a partner. With these partnerships in place, York will be hosting over 500 ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries.

To read the full text of the article, click here. To view the ResearchSnapshot for this article, click here.