This tweet taking off is a reminder if something supports your world view you’ll like and use it when you should be engaging critical skills. Here are academics enthusiastically sharing a small Twitter poll as a survey. Try sharing useful and nuanced research - tumbleweed 😢
Also if you’re going to share a poll or anything else your first job is to cite the original. This is basic research practice and it did not happen here as @InductiveStep and others rightly pointed out.
How can we do better when sharing research on academic life?
- use robust research (there’s lots of it)
- cite and link to it
- check against other research
- critique and question
- synthesise research and share
- put it into practice
- tell others how it worked out for you
This shouldn’t be remotely surprising as it’s what we all should be doing in our day jobs (if it is surprising then training is a good plan).
It’s important as otherwise we’ll have short, limited Twitter polls guiding policy and practice when detailed, nuanced work is ignored.
I guarantee you there are loads of papers, books and projects on what academics feel about working/studying in unis (good and bad) and they are useful to draw on when we’re supporting each other in difficult times. But memes, Twitter polls and newspaper headlines are used more 😢
If you look at the quoted tweet it has hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes. It’ll become lore but nobody will recall its origins. The metrics on this tweet and others like it always outweigh the low figures you find when dependable and useful research is shared.
Social media is often credited as a good source of sharing research on academic life, but in reality it isn’t. What is way more popular is anything that allows people to vent and grumble (understandable) which in return creates dominant but inaccurate picture of academia.
And that shouldn’t matter except that we’re in the business of creating, using, critiquing and sharing evidence. If we’re happy to be sloppy in one area it makes other research harder. And it’s the areas where we need rigour to bring urgently needed change where this is worst
All of the above can be todays #ResearchTip 😀
TL;DR - standards, people.
#AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #gradschool #PhDHelp #PhDChat #HigherEd #ResearchMethods
Ps. In case you were wondering if you can include Twitter polls in research writing, yes you can. You’d say something like “on x date, y person said on Twitter z thing which was very popular (link/screen grab/metrics). This does/does not match wider evidence (cite) because…”
In this case I’d cite evidence on different ways people feel about academia, why that is, who’s more disadvantaged and maybe include the tweet and responses as one case example of described issues playing out in practice. I wouldn’t lead with it or exclude other literature.
And all that is important because when it comes to #AcademicMentalHealth, safety, ethics, rights and wellbeing there is huge resistance to support students or staff. If your evidence is a Twitter poll or similar genuine grievances are easy to dismiss or even ridicule.

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More from @DrPetra

15 Nov
This #AntiBullyingWeek let’s talk about bullying in academia. We know it happens. Many of us have witnessed it or been targeted directly. Here’s a thread I’ll add to with things you may not know. Feel free to join in and ask for or offer help
#AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter
When I started researching academic bullying I assumed most victims would be young and junior in universities and bullies would be older and senior. While this can be the case it’s possible for anyone working or studying in academia to be a victim or a bully. #AntiBullyingWeek
For example, many people in senior roles are bullied in academia but they may struggle to be given support, are often blamed or shamed for “allowing” abuse to happen, and may feel trapped by their career status, opportunities and personal responsibilities. #AntiBullyingWeek
Read 22 tweets
13 Nov
Today’s #ResearchTip is all of us should be able to be open and critical about the problems inherent in academia. Being pressured to say nothing in order to keep your job, get funding, or hold senior roles is a massive 🚩
#AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #HigherEd #MedEd
If you’re in an organisation where you’re being bullied then you understandably may worry about speaking out and may need help to do so while keeping yourself safe The same cannot be said at organisational level where silence allows abuse to thrive
Research councils, professional associations, university management and charities/groups supporting students and staff often use “staying neutral” to really mean “not getting involved with damaging situations requiring urgent attention (that we also may have a role in)”.
Read 4 tweets
6 Nov
There is so much online drama currently that you absolutely do not have to join in with.
If it’s safer for you to log off or disengage, do that.

If you want to contribute something, make it positive to benefit you or others on or offline.

You can support and defend other people in productive ways that don’t have to be done in public.

Pick your battles.
There is a lot of pressure to perform advocacy and allyship. But if it’s making you unwell or unsafe and/or doing very little to bring change then consider other ways to assist others and make a difference. Avoid pressuring others to take action or for not publicly doing enough.
Read 12 tweets
17 Aug
It's great to see more projects launching on #AcademicMentalHealth
Over time we can look forward to learning from them and applying findings to our practices.
Today I'd like to look back on how we got to this point as many working and studying in unis don't know the history /1
It's so important that #AcademicMentalHealth is being recognised more widely (in some spaces at least) but we need to acknowledge this hasn't come from nowhere and is rooted in a whole range of problems, prejudices and oppositions /2
Using my own work as an example, let's go back to the 90 and 00s when I was doing my PhD and postdoc on sensitive topics. I had no provision made for my own safety, or my participants. I kept asking for this. Minoritised scholars had written on this, but there wasn't much /3
Read 42 tweets
15 Aug
Today's #ResearchTip is #refugee students and scholars are among the most neglected in discussions about #AcademicMentalHealth, inclusion, rights and access.
What can you do to help? Find out in the thread and share your suggestions too
#AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #HigherEd
You can campaign to make your university a #SanctuaryCampus Find out more on how to do this via @UniofSanctuary
You can support @CARA1933 who support refugee academics. There's a variety of ways to assist from fundraising to volunteering. This can be as an individual or as a university
Read 20 tweets
14 Aug
While incels are in the news again it’s important to remember
- concerns were raised about this over two decades ago
- Black women raised the alarm
- journalists were asked to address problems both documenting incels and their own poor sex and relationships writing, but avoided
Not just concerns about incels but worries about poor sex and relationships education, lack of parental supervision/awareness online, PUAs, g*mer**te, the far right and more, and all amalgamations of these.
Journalists may want to cover this now, because it’s “news” not recognising there’s a long history of growing problems and a legacy of many people who tried to raise concerns and in many cases were dismissed as killjoys and prudes (particularly in the early to mid noughties).
Read 29 tweets

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