Using Twitter to locate the latest information on your research topic

Using Twitter to locate the latest research on your topic:

Teachers and students do not often think of suggesting students utilize Twitter as a tool to locate information to support the topic that they are researching.  While not all postings are authoritative, many are!  Teaching students to scan Twitter for the latest information on the topic that they are studying may ultimately direct students towards information that is being presented at a conference or direct them to a professional or organization that may further their research!  This is an important tool that students should be guided towards using effectively:

Step 1:  Login to Twitter  (you may have to create an account) and keyword search your topic

Step 2: Once you hit enter, you will see a listing of tweets that include your keyword (which updates as new tweets are added)

Step 3:

Browse the list of tweets to see which look good.

You can:

(a)   Link into hyperlinks which look promising – you will cite the hyperlinked source versus the tweet.

(b)  Scan for a useful hashtag that you may want to use often.

(c)   Look for a quality expert or group to follow

This is an example of a tweet which uses a hashtag (#bioethics is the hashtag within the tweet)


A “hashtag” is a sort of keyword that multiple people use to categorize their tweet. #edchat is a popular hashtag for education (in general) while #edtech is a popular hashtag for technology in education.

Once you find a good hashtag, you can type it in like a keyword


Some Twitter users prefer to use a tool called Tweetdeck, which organizes tweets into columns.  For instance, if you are following various individuals or groups, you will have one column that displays this activity.  At the same time, you may be able to view a column which pushes through any tweets for a specific hashtag.


image from:

If there is a link within the tweet, cite the source it links to.  If not:  Use this link if you need to cite a Tweet

If you want to contact a person or group who has posted on twitter, you can go into their profile for their contact information (they may have a website or list their email address) or you can reply to their tweet (you cannot message each other unless you both follow each other).  If you choose to reply, watch for their reply back to you.

Rule to Follow:  Don’t let Twitter overwhelm you!  This is a tool that you can jump in and out of for days or months at a time.  Take what is useful and don’t worry about what you may miss.

Update 2/20/14

If you do not prefer to open a Twitter account, you can type in a Twitter hashtag into and obtain the html code of all posts related to that hashtag and paste it into a blog or website.  This transfer maintains the integrity of the hyperlinks to articles, etc. within the Twitter chats.


2 thoughts on “Using Twitter to locate the latest information on your research topic

  1. […] be useful if you want to archive a Twitter conversation or if you have students who want to use Twitter for Research yet do not want to create a Twitter […]

  2. […] have a new favorite for both archiving a Twitter Chat and following a hashtag for Twitter research (in lieu of opening a Twitter account)  It is Storify!  I’m sure that there are many other cool ways to use it!  If you use […]

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