MU Researchers Work to Reach Missouri Lawmakers via Social Media

Jan 4, 2016

Credit Twiiter

In a recent study, University of Missouri researchers developed new techniques to make scientific research studies more accessible to lawmakers through social media like Twitter.

MU professor Julie Kapp worked on the study and she said very little scientific research is shared via Twitter even though 95 percent of congressional health policymakers are users.

"It doesn't seem like there's a lot of science being shared broadly and that some of that science, obviously, would be very helpful to inform policy decisions," Kapp said.

MU Professor Brian Hensel worked with Kapp on the study, and he said Twitter is an opportunity for researchers to educate and inform policymakers by giving them access to more credible information.

But, he said, one difficulty of using Twitter is the one hundred forty character limit.

"As researchers, we often have to present complex and nuanced findings in an accurate way and we have to place those findings within the broader context of other research,” Hensel said. “It's not easy given the limitations of the characters that can be sent in a tweet."

Hensel said he believes it is vital for researchers to build trust through tweets with lawmakers over a period time. This way researchers can have more impact on policy.

Kapp and Hensel plan to continue their research on Twitter to see how researchers can best communicate with lawmakers.