Research 2.0? Risks and Rewards of Using Emergent Technologies

This blog post supports a presentation at the UKGrad Yorkshire & North East Hub, E-Researcher Development Meeting, an e-learning day for trainers and developers.

The presentation will open with a brief introduction to the JISC Users and Innovation Programme and discuss the importance of eliciting user needs. This section uses an image from a Flickr user (pauliepaul).

The presentation then moves on to discuss the growth in 2.0 tools, not only in terms of the number of web 2.0 start-up companies, but also in terms of the number of areas that are using the ‘2.0’ suffix as a way of demonstrating that we are now doing something different. To illustrate the number of web 2.0 tools that are available the montages created by Stabilo Boss are used.

However, whilst some of the characteristics of web 2.0 as defined by people such as O’Reilly are discussed, for the purposes of the presentation the presentation centres on the existing web 2.0 tools that may be of use to delegates and their communities. This user centric approach is first illustrated by discussing ‘Ross’, one of the students who has worked with the programme and presented at JISC events. Are there a set of activities that Ross would need to do as a researcher that can be achieved with either greater ease, or more efficiently? These should be two primary drivers. However, there is a third – security.

So, having identified that there are things we want to do more efficiently or easier, what sort of activities might they be?

  • Publishing and Disseminating
  • Networking and Communities
  • Collaboration
  • Sharing stories (privately and publicly)

Having identified tools the idea of digital footprints will be covered and the implications that may have. The feedback from why PhD students think that online profiles are important:

  • Collaboration: finding colleagues and peers to work with
  • Advertising or Promoting ‘you’: a way of showing what you can do
  • Dissemination: either of information or ‘products’, where products could be ‘papers’ or ‘software’
  • Networking / Community Building: all online communities require you to have an online ‘persona’
  • Contact: a way of people finding you, perhaps after seeing a presentation or reading a paper – often they will ‘Google you’
  • Saving time, having an online presence is something you can send people to if they want to know more about your work etc, rather than you writing individual emails
  • The Web is an established medium: “if you’re not on the web, you don’t exist”

Rather than cover many of the issues that were to be covered in the parallel sessions, this session looked at some of the issues around blogging as an example of some the things some research students are engaging with, including:

  • as a way of building a literature review
  • to share ideas with an overseas supervisor
  • to practice English
  • to get interact with the ‘subjects’
  • to self promote

Finally, the session looked at some of the issues around security and some of the negative impacts that may occur of using the technologies.

The slides for this session are below

 

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