Use Twitter’s API To Amplify Your Research (Now for Free)

Twitter’s API is now available to academic researchers with defined research projects at no cost.

Why is this important?

Until recently, academic researchers interested in utilizing Twitter data in their work needed to pay a premium to use Twitter’s API in order to access Twitter’s full archive of public conversations on the app. Due to recent efforts to improve Twitter’s API, the platform has announced free access to the Twitter archives for qualified researchers and developers.

Whether you are a student, post-doc, or faculty member (research-focused staff included), you can submit an application to receive academic researcher access and additional support from Twitter.

What kind of projects might I use Twitter’s API for?

Social media discourse has become increasingly important for understanding the world as we know it, including topics like trends in different industries and professions, monitoring hate speech, assessing the spread of online misinformation, and measuring the influence of social movements on public perception, just to name a few!

Many researchers at Vanderbilt can find value in using Twitter data to explore and learn more about research topics they may want to study in the future, as well as to amplify their current research projects by using analyses of tweets as the sole or an additional method of research. For example, an interdisciplinary team of Vanderbilt researchers used Twitter’s API to a scalable framework to detect personal health mentions on Twitter.

Still not sure if using Twitter data is a good fit for your research or looking to learn more about how to use Twitter data in research? This Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Data is a great first step! Twitter also provides some inspiration to get you started.

How do I get access?

The application, which takes about 10 minutes if you already have a project in mind, is straightforward and requires a verified Twitter account and confirmation of your affiliation with Vanderbilt (e.g., Google Scholar page, Vanderbilt profile link). You’ll also need to provide some insight about what you plan to study on Twitter and what you want to do with the data.

Be sure to reference this application guide before you start.

Help! I have more questions.

The Office of Digital Scholarship and Communications (DiSC) is excited to support you with developing your research project and navigating the Twitter API. If you have questions about using Twitter data in your research, contact DiSC.

This post was authored by Rachel Hanebutt, a PhD Candidate in the Community Research and Action program at Peabody College and HASTAC Scholar with DiSC.

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