Social media tools are widely used by the public at large. In recent years, they have been employed by researchers and academics to connect with each other, discuss their research, gather data, and share resources. Mainstream tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have been joined by tools custom-made for researchers, such as ResearchGate, Academia.edu and FigShare.
This study sought to explore whether social media tools were being used by researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and if so, how they were being employed within the research process. The overarching question that the study aimed to answer was whether the UCT Libraries could support the use of social media by researchers at the University and if so, how this should be done.
The study adopted a mixed methods approach. Questionnaires gathered primarily quantitative data, while interviews gathered qualitative data and augmented the data gathered via the questionnaires. Respondents were asked to provide details of their use of social media during the research process, or lack thereof, and to offer their suggestions for how the Library could support this activity.
It was found that social media is being used during the research process by the respondents to the study in a variety of ways. Respondents provided insight into drivers and hindrances to the use of social media for this purpose. The UCT Library has a part to play in supporting this activity, specifically through training, information, and consultation sessions, and by understanding the types of social media users at the University, their social media needs, and their perceptions of social media.
Mini Dissertation (MIT)--University of Pretoria, 2015.