Using Social Media to Advance Community-Based Research

Using Social Media to Advance Community-Based Research

By Rebecca A. Glazier, and Morgan Paige Topping, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

From medicine to the social sciences, scholars are increasingly turning to community-based research methods to improve the validity of their results, as well as to benefit research subjects. Academics may be hesitant to try community-based research approaches, however, because building trust with communities and subjects can be challenging. One way to facilitate trusting relationships with community partners is through social media. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to build connections and share information. Yet, little research has been done on how social media can be used as a recruitment and communication tool for community-based research projects. Here, we use Facebook to advance the goals of a community-based social science research project in Little Rock, Arkansas: the Little Rock Congregations Study. We compare participation and results distribution rates for this longitudinal research project in 2012, 2016, and 2018, and find increases in 2018, the year we utilized social media. The results indicate that social media can aid community-based research by helping to build trust, improve credibility, and facilitate communication. 

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