Looking back over the 23 Things, which I studied in order, I see a collection of devices, tools and skills intertwined with each other, which can be used in combination with other Things to support the researcher in a variety of ways. The whole collection is larger than its parts.

Some weeks I have been on familiar ground, but still learned new things by delving that bit deeper (e.g. Wikipedia). Other weeks all the Things have been new to me.  There are some things which I definitely want to explore further (e.g. reference management tools and altmetrics), some things which I am now using and others which I hope to use in the future.

As someone new to research I have more to learn from others’ papers, blogs etc. and feel that I have little to contribute at the moment. Thanks to some of these Things I now know of more sources of information.  However I also know, from my previous experiences on LinkedIn, that by investing time connecting with colleagues, you can help others and reap unexpected benefits.

Of the greatest practical benefit to me at the moment was the material on Twitter and I saved a lot of time by discovering and using its advanced search features. This shows that learning more about a package can reap benefits, and you can recoup the time spent learning (a catch 22).

Possibly the underpinning thing was copyright and legal issues, which are so important when sharing your work online and using that of others.

On reflection my blogs haven’t been reflective, rather they have been statements. Also, I haven’t had time to explore the blogs of my fellow 23 Thingers, but I hope to remedy that.  As my experience increases I will be better able to determine the things most useful to me and become more proficient in those.  As such the 23 Things course has given me a taster of lots of things, enough to get started – and material and resources to refer to.

I enjoyed the course and discovered Things which I wouldn’t have found by myself. At the moment I feel a little like this fledgling but hope to find my wings soon.




Things 21 and 22 – pulling it all together

Getting access to *Research et al was problematic. I wondered if this was because I was in Glasgow – and therefore a long way from a campus device.  However, a lady from “Journals” discovered that it worked using Google Chrome whereas I’d used Windows Explorer.  (“Oh for standards” I hear (some of) you exclaim.)  So eventually I managed to access and have a look around the various options.

*Unity appealed to me for several reasons, including the fact that the organisation running it will be bound by the EU Data Protection legislation (servers in Netherlands and set up in UK). The other thing that appealed is its university roots and focus.  I was slightly put off by the fact that you can’t read the T&C until you’ve entered your details.  I found its comparison of itself to Dropbox and Sharepoint (http://unity.ac/university/unity-vs-sharepoint-dropbox/) interesting.  Anyway I’ve created an account and will use it for sharing things, being aware of the need for backups etc. as our fellow “23 Things-er” pointed out here.

As I’ve had an active LinkedIn account for some time and have my previous career and contacts outside of academia to consider I have decided to make my LinkedIn account the hub of my online presence.

Things 21 and 22 – pulling it all together

Meeting and Collaborating online

Webinars  Back on familiar ground! I’ve used Google+ Hangout once – to join a conference held in London – whilst sitting in Dundee. Unfortunately, despite decent bandwidth at both ends, the buffering was poor – which meant that audio and video kept breaking up. Turning off video helped but limited the usefulness as I couldn’t see the slides being presented!

Working with colleagues who are many miles away I frequently use GoToMeeting or Skype. Apart from attending presentations or remote meetings I’ve also delivered training remotely by sharing my screen. (The feedback received was that it was clear and easy to follow but the attendees wished they could see me at the same time.)

I’ve also used Adobe Connect, WebEx, Lync and PowWowNow (audio only but so easy to use) and been an attendee on other systems.

Bandwidth is definitely a large factor. So, when working from home (poor bandwidth) I turn off all webcams when meeting with colleagues so that I get a reasonable quality (GoToMeeting). Skype works better and I can usually leave the webcams on.

Being in the Glasgow office of the University we join cluster meetings using Skype for Business – which is great. No need to fly to Gatwick for a short meeting. Recently I took part in a meeting in Norway – from Scotland!

This type of technology has been and is being looked at for telehealth applications. There are concerns around security of the transmission and some NHS boards use VC connection over a bridge – which is secure but is a lot more expensive. Some patients are familiar with Skype and Facetime.

So – all in all, it’s very useful technology. For webinars with high attendance consider functionality like an attendee putting his/her hand up (electronically) to indicate that s/he wants to speak, being able to write messages during the webinar etc.

Some of the potential pitfalls are around the layout of the room. For example, if there is good light behind the people in camera the attendees just see a silhouette. Another thing to consider if delivering a presentation remotely is how to point out things on the screen. For example, at one presentation the slides were shared (gave a good, sharp image at the remote end). We didn’t see the presenter or the “silver screen”. The presenter must have been using a pointing device and said “by clicking here…” but we didn’t know where “here” was! In these circumstances describe where to click!! For Q&A session, either use a roaming mic or have the presenter repeat the question before answering.

Happy attending!

Thing 19 – Setting a date for your webinar etc. using Doodle  Another thing which I’ve used extensively for 4 years. Again it’s a boon.

When setting up a meeting and it is proving difficult to get a mutually convenient date / time, consider accessing the settings and choosing the Yes / No / If needs be option. Some people will then choose “if needs be” when they might otherwise have said “no”.

I didn’t know about using text – so can now arrange who, when, where, menu choices in a series of Doodles – brilliant. I also need to look into integrating it with Outlook calendars.

Thing 20 – collaborating online  I’ve used both Google Docs and Dropbox. It’s worth considering where the data is stored, which data protection legislation applies and checking the T&C etc. when deciding which tool to use for the material in hand.

Meeting and Collaborating online

Things 14 – 17 Research in electronic world

Each “Thing” that we learn about can be useful in certain instances. Using them together in various combinations can be even more powerful e.g. reaching more people thereby increasing personal reach and potentially, academic impact. Here’s an unusual calculation which demonstrates this:

Thing 5 + Thing 14 = Tweetations

Or, put another way

Twitter + Open Access = Tweetations

An example is here

JHF-In the Loop: The Organization of Team-Based Communication in a Patient-Centered Clinical Collaboration System | Kurahashi | JMIR Human Factors

As someone gathering literature I am thankful for online access, ResearchGate and open access.

It will be interesting to see if / how open access affects the citation cycle, and thus the window required for reliable post publication impact in bibliometric terms. I also wondered if bibliometrics and altmetrics will merge, or be combined, at some point – then learned about Scopus’s liking for donuts. There are now plenty of old, paper-based journal articles which have been scanned and are therefore available online, so they could be Tweeted too. (Normalisation required of course.)

Things 14 – 17 Research in electronic world

Things 12 and 13 – media

In my previous role I created training material, some of which was based on how to use various software packages.  Initially (years ago) I took screen shots and added boxes of text, arrows, stars etc. in Word or PowerPoint – slow but it got the message across – graphically.

Then the organisation purchased a tool – which automated and simplified this – and voice could be included too!  Wonderful.  The introduction to NVivo that I watched recently was a screencast with mouse movements and voice.  It was so easy to follow what the presenter was doing.

At the moment there aren’t any presentations etc. which I can upload.  However the idea of reaching a wider audience than an institutional website is intriguing – with my “volunteer” hat on.

Things 12 and 13 – media

Things 9, 10 and 11

Useful to know about the “History” and “Talk” tabs in Wikipedia.

Thinking of podcasts etc., there’s a lot of information out there – and the links in Thing 10 have given me new places to look. For example, a quick look on MIT for “Qualitative Research” (a new area for me) led me to a series of videos from a variety of sources.

Afro Marcu, one of my FHMS colleagues, has pointed me to the LSE Impact Blog website http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/ and specifically to a guide on using Twitter in university research (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/?s=using+twitter+in+university+research). There’s also one on how to write a blogpost from your journal article (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/01/25/how-to-write-a-blogpost-from-your-journal-article/). Both of these subjects are in the heart of our 23 Things.

I’ve just started using NVivo and found helpful videos on YouTube to supplement the QSR ones.

MOOCs can be great and I’ve completed a couple on Coursera.


Great that all this information is available and even better that it’s free – but back to information overload concerns – and, more importantly, knowing which sources are reliable.  This applies to podcasts etc., Wikipedia and most other sites on the internet.  Even established sites can be hacked and information altered or added.  Coming from the NHS I am aware that there is a lot of mis-information available and the havoc this can cause.  (I know of one Royal College that was hacked and another which was subjected to a  spoofing attack.)

Things 9, 10 and 11

Spiders get everywhere!

In my Thing 4 blog (Click here) I’d mentioned that I was nearly invisible! You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when ResearchGate displayed a photo of me during the registration process!! (It was the photo that I submitted to the organisers of a conference at which I was speaking.)

Licence – Creative Commons – some rights reserved by Bogdan Suditu https://www.flickr.com/photos/bogdansuditu/


Spiders get everywhere!