July 2017: Impact & Engagement continued

Research Bites will continue the theme of Impact and Engagement throughout July. Thank you to the fantastic presenters that we’ve had so far, and to everyone who has attended.

Just turn up, no need to book! Tea/coffee and a cake provided.


How to write a good impact case study

Thursday 22nd June, 12pm, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream at 12.00 BST
Hints and tips for writing a high quality impact case study for REF.
Amy Gibbons, Faculty Impact Manager, Faculty of Science & Technology

Writing ‘Pathways to Impact’ statements

Wednesday 28th June, 12pm, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream at 12.00 BST
What they are, why they’re important, and some tips on best practice.
Ross Dachraoui, Impact Development Manager, Research & Enterprise Services


School-University Research Engagement

Friday 7th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream at 12.00 BST
Information about opportunities available for you to engage schools in your research, including Extended Project Qualification Mentoring and Research in a Box.
Jane Taylor, Senior Lecturer, Lancaster Environment Centre & Catherine Baxendale, Research Project Administrator, UK Student Recruitment & Outreach

Measuring academic impact using citations and bibliometrics

Wednesday 12th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 19. Live stream at 12.00 BST
Learn how citations and bibliometrics can be used to indicate academic impact.
Tanya Williamson, Academic Liaison Librarian, Library

Proactive partnerships for impact

Thursday 27th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream at 12.00 BST
Co-designing productive impact driven research.
Nick King, Business Development Manager & Colin McLaughlin, Technology Transfer Manager, School of Computing & Communications

Using SciVal to measure academic impact, citations and collaborations

Monday 31st July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 1. Live stream at 12.00 BST
Learn about using SciVal to measure academic impact for yourself, your team, or your discipline and how it can be used to strengthen grant applications and identify potential collaborators with impact in mind.
Masud Khokhar, Head of Digital Innovation, Library


Qualitative data analysis: NVivo event at Lancaster University

Research Bites readers might be interested in this event being organised by Dr Steve Wright in the faculty of Health and Medicine.

NVivo@Lancaster on Monday 26th June 2017

Discover how to get the most out of your qualitative research

NVivo@Lancaster is an event aimed at equipping researchers like you with the tools to be successful in your research. QSR International Limited are the software developers of NVivo and we’re hosting a day on campus in association with the Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Training programme to help you with your Qualitative Analysis.

You can learn more about NVivo@Lancaster by:

Attending one of our NVivo Seminars to see how NVivo can be used. LUMS LT10 Collaboration Suite – B Floor, Management School

  • Literature reviews with NVivo (9.30am to 11am)
  • Framework analysis with NVivo (11.30am to 12.45pm)
  • Analysing Social Media and Large Datasets (2pm – 3.30pm)

There will be an opportunity for Q&A’s during the seminars and you can attend as many sessions as you want.

Visiting the QSR International Exhibition Stand. LUMS, B Floor Foyer (outside LT10)

  • Drop by the stand to chat to the makers of NVivo. We’re on hand all day to answer your questions.

Drop by the NVivo Café. LUMS, B108 (opposite LT10)

Have a burning question about your research? Drop in with your project, do some work and get some expert advice or guidance. New to NVivo or want to see how it works? Call into the NVivo Café to try it.

All events are open to both staff and students of Lancaster University. Sessions will be live streamed and recorded, and remote support will be available at the cafe too.


Please register and book on the sessions at http://bit.ly/NVivoAtLU – instructions here NVivo@Lancaster 26th June 2017- promo info and registration

We’ll be tweeting about the event using the hashtag #NVivoAtLU

All enquiries to Steve Wright.

Research ethics of data use and reuse

Thanks to Debbie Knight, Di Hopkins and Becky Case for another interesting Research Bites session on the theme of Research Ethics and Ethical review process at Lancaster University.

The slides are available, courtesy of the presenters.

If it’s out there, can I use it?

The primary question raised in this session was whether data relating to human subjects which is in the public domain – whether shared via a data repository, presented as open data, or online, e.g. on social media – can be reused in research simply because it’s available.

The answer was, ‘Not necessarily’.

Ethical review is still necessary as the participants or subjects may not have given their consent to the research.

Primary data

For studies using primary data, such as social media posts, interviews or survey responses being collected for the first time, it will be necessary to provide as much supporting information as you can, such as information sheets for participants, and a sample of the questions being asked.

Applications should be made to the Faculty Ethics Committee, and will likely be reviewed by a sub- or full committee as cases can be complex.

Secondary data

It is still necessary to submit your research through ethical review when re-analysing existing data, e.g. reusing data which has already been made available. This is mainly to ensure that the researcher has applied the principles of:

  • informed consent
  • anonymity
  • security

While anonymity is a principle, it may not necessarily be a requirement, depending on your context. Also, consider whether combining and re-using two datasets may unintentionally expose participants.

[Aside: Research Bites readers might also be interested in this write up of the Sharing Qualitative Data workshop, from April 2017]


There is a need to potential reuse of the data generated in your research at an early stage. Ideally, participants will be fully informed of the potential reuse of the research data on the information sheet which is available before they are asked to consent.

You might also find this guidance on writing Data Management Plans useful.

It was acknowledged during the session that best practice in data management includes planning for re-use and sharing of research data, and this should be done with consideration of the ethical implications of doing so.

Example questions

Every question is better understood the full context of the research being proposed, so please seek advice from your Faculty Research Ethics Committee key contacts if you have questions.

It is helpful to the committee to supply any supporting information such to highlight any issues, and help them to understand how you have considered them.

Can I include Terms & Conditions of online platforms (e.g. Twitter) in an ethics application?

Does  it make a difference if the platform is open or closed?

How can I gain consent from people unable to read, in other languages, or from people of different cultures?

Can I re-use data from news or published sources? This is considered as ‘the literature’, so yes, but if in doubt, ask!

Do I need ethical approval if I’m using data from leaked documents in my research? Yes!

Lancaster Data Conversations: data security and confidentiality, Thursday 4th May 2017

Readers may also be interested in Lancaster Data Conversations this week on the topic of data security and confidentiality.



Social media: Insights from an academic department

It’s taken a while to write up this session from June! Many thanks to Dr Tom Webb for sharing his insights from managing the Law School blog and social media presence of the Law School at Lancaster University.

The staff blog is currently used as a vehicle for writing up short articles (500-1500 words) following conferences, reflections on current topics, and writing articles which can be understood by wider audiences.

Why blog?

  • Raise the profile of the research
  • Speak to a different audience
  • ‘open up pathways to impact’
  • ‘claim an idea’ early on

Twitter broadens the network to other scholars, students, other institutions and beyond to reach a more mixed audience.


Tom has found using Twitter and blog Analytics a useful way to provide feedback to colleagues on how many people are interacting with their social media posts/tweets. Unfortunately,  blog posts aren’t eligible to be included in the REF, though they can/do contribute towards generating broader impact.


  • Quick publication
  • Attention from the media
  • Raise profile
  • Student recruitment


You can now view the slides and listen to Tom’s presentation.


Do author’s have to choose between writing for the Law School blog and writing for The ConversationYes and no. The Conversation uses Creative Commons licences which allows you to reblog their content. The Law School blog offers more editorial freedom than the Conversation (e.g. posts can be in ‘Legalese’).

Is there any editorial control? Authors send copy, and Tom will edit formatting (e.g. inserting paragraph breaks) to make the content more readable online. Otherwise not.

Do you get credit within the department for the work you do with social media? Yes to an extent. This will probably grow as Departments recognise the potential benefits and engagement that can result from taking part. 

Maximising your digital impact


Many thanks to Russell Reader, Head of Media Engagement in the Press Office here at Lancaster University. Russ gave a well informed talk full of good reasons and practical tips on how to make the most of online services to raise your academic profile and reach out to audiences inside and outside academia.

The session focussed mainly on:

  • Twitter
  • Blogs especially The Conversation
  • News and current affairs e.g. BBC Radio 4

Russ has kindly supplied his presentation slides for anyone who wasn’t able to get to the session.

He included a video of PhDs and researchers who had found publishing with The Conversation beneficial.


What amount of time should I commit to Twitter? Initially spend an hour a week building your network, following other accounts and re-tweeting interesting tweets. Over time allow 10 minutes a day to look at it, then gradually when you’re more confident start to engage with others, chip in your thoughts and ideas.

Are there any apps I can use to help me manage Twitter? Yes, there are many apps. A good one to use is Tweetdeck which allows you to create different ‘stacks’ or columns to filter your Twitter stream, conduct and save searches and schedule posts in advance.

Top Twitter Tips


Thanks to everyone who came to the Top Twitter Tips session! I hope it was useful. There have been some follow-up tweets of things I forgot to say, so please check out my Twitter account @TanyaLibrarian and feel free to follow!

The recording is now available to view, and you can see the slides below and on SlideShare.

If there are any further follow-up questions, please leave a comment here.


If a conference has a Twitter account (e.g. @BrilliantConference2015) and an associated hashtag (e.g. #BrilliantConference2015) what’s the best way to tweet about the conference? It’s probably best to use the hashtag so that the organisers and other delegates can easily pull together all tweets related to the conference by searching the hashtag. It will make your tweets more visible. If you mention the account using the @ username your tweets will also be visible, and would show up in a keyword search. If you use the @ username at the start of your tweet (as you would in reply to that account) the tweet will only appear in the conference account’s mentions timeline, so other delegates would miss it, unless the conference account retweeted it.

Is there a quick way of finding someone’s username? Search in Twitter and check profile and picture if there is more than one person. However people may not use their name, or may tweet from multiple accounts, or have a common name, so you might need to do Google search for them.

Can you have private lists for a group of people? Yes you can! When you set up the list, you can choose Private. I believe that people are not notified when you add them to a private list (I couldn’t see the definitive answer to this on Twitter’s own page, but I believe Wired), so technically you could create a list of rivals, or job prospects, and no-one else would know!


Twitter’s Help centre is a really useful place to learn more about how Twitter works, and the advanced features. There are also tons of apps which can enhance how you use Twitter, but perhaps that’s for another time…