Science on Twitter: Student collaboration leads to research publication

30 November 2016

A CPAS lecturer had an idea and her master's students did the research, using a PhD student’s programming, resulting in the research being accepted for publication in the Journal of Science Communication.

Three students enrolled in Dr Merryn McKinnon's course SCOM6016 Science in the Media in 2013 — David Semmens, Inoka Amarasekara and Léa Bolliet — undertook a research project on the discussion of science on Twitter during the 2013 Australian federal election.

They used iPython programming developed by former PhD student Brenda Moon to collect the data for analysis. Dr Moon is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Queensland University of Technology.

Putting this research together with analysis of the 2016 federal election, they together produced a paper, which was published this week in the journal commonly known as JCom.

Focusing on climate change mitigation as a prominent election issue, the researchers found that Twitter is an underused resource because it is dominated by voices not prominent in mainstream media.

All the masters students have now completed their degrees and are pursuing careers in areas like public science events and project management.