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#ResearchRoundup

A short while ago I created a video where I talked about an intention to make my research more accessible.

As many of you will be familiar with, undertaking research and writing articles takes a substantial amount of time. Once our papers are accepted it can almost seem like job done. But then what? A lot of my work treads the line between research, policy and practice; but who actually reads this work? My gut feel is that it is primarily academics. (I'd be keen to know if this is true.) I've spent a lot of time trying to make my work more accessible, whether that be through conferences, media press releases, tweets etc..., but I still feel there is a lot more that could be done.

This has been one of the driving reasons for starting this blog; it creates an outlet to foreground and discuss research, whilst reducing the jargon and getting to the nub of the work. Why was the research conducted and what are the implications of the work.

We live in a time poor environment, where so many things compete for our attention. It's not surprising then that our research doesn't get read by as many people as we would like. I don't believe that this is a reflection of study quality or the importance of the findings. I have seen many excellent papers which have struggled with their online dissemination.

A lot of us are using Twitter and other forms of social media to promote our work. I've found that just by including an image of the front page of the paper, the number of people interacting with a tweet - and subsequently accessing he paper - increase substantially (apologies on the lack of data). The same challenge arises though; we are taken straight to a paper and then expected to read it, the abstract at least. I like to know, before reading on, that it will be a good use of time.

The #ResearchRoundup

This is where the #ResearchRoundup comes in. Rather than solely posting a picture of our article, we can also embed a video. The #ResearchRoundup is a one minute video to summarise your work, and the implications of your work. These videos are incredibly easy to make, and can be filmed either on your own phone (in the comfort of your office/home/study) or by your media/press teams.

Why make one?

Here are a few of my thoughts as to why you should consider the #ResearchRoundup.

  • It's a quick and easy way to increase the audience accessing your work;
  • It gets straight to the point, informing people about the research methods, main findings, and implications;
  • It may decrease the likelihood of your research being misinterpreted, either by readers or by the media;
  • It builds our own confidence in talking about our research, and moreso, talking into a camera about your work.

We have pulled together some guidelines on how to create these videos (click here).

What next if I want to create a video?

When one of your papers are published, or have recently been published, consider what the main messages are that you are trying to get across;

  1. Create a set of bullet points which align with the proposed formatting of the #ResearchRoundup. Within a one minute time-frame, there is time to talk through 6-10 short bullet points. I have included mine here as an example;
  2. If filming independently, set the camera up in the forward-facing mode so that you can see the screen. Think about the height of the camera (level with your head and torso) and also what is in the background;
  3. What I found most helpful was to have the bullet points presented on my laptop screen or printed out and placed near to the camera;
  4. Be prepared to fail; it took me a lot of attempts to get the video right. It became much more comfortable once I had talked it through a handful of times;
  5. When you are happy with the video, you can easily edit the start and end points of the video. This will mean that you can remove the part of the video where you are reaching for the camera to record/stop recording;
  6. Either upload your video directly onto the social media platform (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) or onto YouTube. If you don't have a YouTube channel, your institute probably will;
  7. As you post your #ResearchRoundup, ensure that you have a link to your paper in the post/tweet. If you use the #ResearchRoundup hash-tag, then people will easily be able to search for and find your video;
  8. Share the concept with others in your institute, and encourage your media/press teams to collate all of the #ResearchRoundup videos associate with your institute.

Let us know you get on.

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About the Author

Leeds Beckett University

Dr James Nobles

James is a former Research Fellow in Public Health and Obesity at Leeds Beckett.

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