Ask an anatomist: Identifying global trends, topics and themes of academic anatomists using twitter

Madeleine J. Marsland, Michelle Lazarus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social media (SoMe) is increasingly used in higher education (HE) to access knowledge and enable global communication. The SoMe platform Twitter® is particularly beneficial in these contexts because it is readily accessible, easily searchable (via hashtags) and global. Given these advantages, the twitter platform @AskAnatomist was created to foster a global weekly tweet chat, where students and academics can ask and address anatomy-related questions. The aim of this study was to identify themes arising in the early stages of the @AskAnatomy Twitter community to gain insights into current needs/key areas for academic anatomists, students, and other followers. A qualitative analysis of tweets including the hashtag #AnatQ, (the associated @AskAnatomist hashtag), was undertaken to achieve this aim. Thematic analysis revealed three core themes arising in the formative stages of the @AskAnatomist Twitter site: (1) anatomical education modalities, (2) specific anatomy content, and (3) research motivations. These themes reveal controversies within the field of anatomical sciences, areas for potential education resource improvement and research, as well as the humor of anatomists. Though the original intent of the @AskAnatomist site was to engage the general public in anatomy content and knowledge, tweet analysis suggests that academic anatomists were the primary active “tweeters”. Interestingly, this analysis reveals that the @AskAnatomist site progressed into a web-based community of practice (CoP), suggesting an additional benefit of SoMe communities in the field of anatomy. Anat Sci Educ 11: 270–281.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-281
Number of pages12
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • gross anatomy education
  • communities of practice
  • social media
  • Twitter
  • trends
  • themes

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