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Did you know it’s possible for students to use social media as a classroom research tool?
Over the years social media has evolved from being a mere communication platform where people can connect with their long-time friends. It has matured into a platform where people conduct real business in addition to just making connections.
Facebook is arguably the most popular social media platform we have today. It started out as a channel where people could re-establish some of their lost connections. Today, major brands are using it to market their goods and services—that’s how far social media has evolved. With these changes, it’s only fair that students get to take advantage of such opportunities.
Why struggle with research papers when there is plenty of help out there? There are so many ways students can use social media for classroom research. Instead of focusing on chatting up friends, they can use that time constructively and get something done.
What Social Media Can Do For Students
In as far as doing classroom research is concerned, social media can assist students at every stage. We are all aware of what's involved in research, from exploration to engagement to publication. In all these phases students can take advantage of the opportunities provided by different social media channels. Be sure to share the following guidelines with students to assist them throughout the process of harnessing social media for research of all kinds.
Get your ideas
You can use social media to source for ideas or contact people within your social connections and ask them for ideas. If you already have an idea, do not be afraid to run it through your social connection to find out if it is a viable one.
Update your information
We are all aware of how dynamic information can get. In order for you to keep up with it all you need to be diligent. Your social network can help to keep you up to date with all the latest information concerning a research paper. It can be very embarrassing to compile a paper with outdated data or information and expect to be credited for the same.
By using different social media outlets you can easily and effectively collaborate with scholars and friends within your network to come up with something worth presenting. There is nothing wrong with involving a few people to provide assistance.
Conduct your research
At times you may be required to conduct a survey and collect data about your research topic before analyzing the same. You can use your social network to help you with both data collection and analysis.
Social Media as a Classroom Research Tool
The following are some of the benefits associated with using social media and social connections for a classroom research tool:
1. You get quick results for your survey
This is perhaps one of the biggest incentives for involving social networks in research. Ideally, a research survey can take weeks or months to collect data from any study group. With social media you can use the platform to learn about your subjects quicker, pose questions to your social network, and encourage them to share their experiences about the subject of the research.
2. You get valuable information
The chances of getting accurate and valuable information from your social network are higher than getting the same from a focus group. Today almost everyone uses the Internet and has access to at least one social media channel. With this kind of audience at your disposal you can use the platform to get a complete picture of how the industry is working.
3. It reduces the costs involved
Gathering data for a typical research paper can be very expensive. However, with social media and social networks, the costs can be greatly reduced. Most of these social media channels do have a number of free tools that can help with research online. Even with the tools that are not free, the cost cannot be compared to the costs associated with conducting a survey and a poll on a focus group.
4. You can get real-time results of your findings
The fact that your connections are all on the Internet means that you get to use data which is constantly updated. This also ensures that you get real-time results for your research which is always something that most researchers appreciate. Traditionally, it used to take researchers a number of weeks or even months before processing and analyzing data. With social media, this is no longer the case.
Our digital kids are born collaborators. As you can see, they can really use social media to their advantage to help them get research done. They might have a group of friends within a social network who know one or two things about handling a research paper who are more than willing to help out. Better yet, they can even use a social network as their own focus group to help them gather data.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Feb 4, 2019, updated Dec 10, 2021