Twitter is a great way of sharing research and sparking discussion with your interpretation of the research findings. It is an open forum for discussion, debate and development of ideas. Although, at times it can become fractious and controversial on the whole it is a good thing.
At physiospot we share a lot of abstracts for the latest physiotherapy research on twitter. We usually get a lot of engagement with these posts on twitter. Here we share the titles and abstracts of the studies as well as a link and reference. We believe it gives everyone easy access to CPD.
Recently we came across the concept of tweetable abstracts which is something more and more journals are embracing. Essentially some journals now require authors to produce a tweetable abstract of 110-120 characters as well as a traditional one. The aim is to rapidly disseminate findings from research to a wider audience. This form of abstract is more easy to engage with than the more common format.
It does come with a cost as it it runs the risk of making readers feel like they don’t need to read the article or even the abstract in full. A huge amount of learning takes place when reading through the methodology and results of a study. This is were your ability to critique and assess for bias comes into its own and how the research your reading will shape your practice.
By summarizing the findings of a study into 120 characters after you have read it and understood it in full, some would argue demonstrates a good level of understanding. This process does not work the opposite way around, you cannot adequately understand a research process summarized into that few characters and be confident to use it to shape your practice.
But this is the worst case scenario; research being shared and never read. Hopefully tweetable abstracts will encourage readers to click on the abstract and make their own decision.