Understanding the Societal Impact of Research Through Social Media

Twitter Survey Information


Welcome to the information page of the project: Understanding the Societal Impact of Research Through Social Media, a study being funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant #: 435-2016-1029).

You may be here because the Twitter account @SFUPubResearch recently contacted you. This contact was part of a research study lead by Dr. Juan Pablo Alperin, at Simon Fraser University.

You were invited to participate because you recently shared a New Yorker article on social media. Your participation should involve only a moment of your time (simply responding to the message you receive). However, you should note that your participation is voluntary. You have the right to ignore the question posed, and if you decide to respond, you may still choose to ignore any follow-up questions. You are also free to withdraw from the study without giving any reason, and to request that, your responses will be destroyed.

About the study

As the communication of research increasingly takes place on social media platforms, there is enormous potential to capture and analyze digital traces left by scholars. This offers, for the first time, the opportunity to study at large scale—using both quantitative and qualitative methods—the processes of knowledge dissemination and co-creation between academia and the public. Taking advantage of this opportunity, this SSHRC-funded project asks: What is the nature and extent of societal impact of research that can be observed through the public’s engagement with research on social media?

What does this have to do with the New Yorker? The research team is testing innovative methods, such as using automated bots, to question individual users on Twitter. Responses from surveys and interviews will be combined with qualitative data to create a conceptual framework of research sharing on social media platforms. The survey conducted with New Yorker articles is part of testing the methodology.

About this project

This project will pilot the survey methods and establish best practices. Before surveying individuals who shared a research article, the study will first invite individuals who shared a New Yorker article to participate in a one-question survey.

More information

The study team includes: Drs. Juan Pablo Alperin and Katherine Reilly (Simon Fraser University), Drs. Stefanie Haustein and Vincent Larivière (Université de Montréal), and Dr. Florence Millerand (Université de Québec à Montréal).

The main study findings will be published in academic journal articles and presented at academic conferences.

If you have any questions about this study, you may contact Juan Pablo Alperin at jalperin@sfu.ca. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the study.

If you have any concerns about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, you may contact Dr. Jeffrey Toward, Director, Office of Research Ethics jtoward@sfu.ca or 778-782-6593.