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Being a Digital Researcher: Digital Skills for Effective Research

Develop the digital skills you need to ensure your research is efficient, impactful, and accessible, no matter what your field.

911 enrolled on this course

A woman in a beige blazer and glasses sits on a laptop in an office setting.

Being a Digital Researcher: Digital Skills for Effective Research

911 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Discover the different and diverse forms of scholarly communication

Good research is only effective and impactful if it is shared and used. Researchers need to understand how research is validated, published and shared with diverse audiences. This includes communicating with other scholars, the public and businesses.

You’ll be taught about the different aspects of scholarly communication: research, data collection and analysis; authoring; peer-review, publication and discovery and dissemination. This includes aspects of copyright, licensing and intellectual property.

Use networking to create opportunities for collaboration with other scholars

Academics depend on one another to develop and share research successfully. Research benefits from different bodies of work, ideas, and discoveries, as well as an audience to provide reviews and feedback.

This four-week course from the University of Hull will introduce you to digital research skills and concepts, and help you build your online identity as a researcher to gain access to knowledge, new audiences, and potential collaborators.

Delve into research ethics and data management

Researchers have a responsibility to ensure that their data is well preserved, organised, accessible, and sharable, to allow for dissemination and knowledge transfer.

Your educators will guide you in the process of data management to show you how to successfully manage and store your research data to ensure its longevity.

Boost your digital research skills with the University of Hull

The educators at the University of Hull are experts in research and learning, and have been running this course successfully for students both online and on campus.

With the combined knowledge of the university’s specialists at your fingertips, you’ll be equipped with the strategies and techniques you need to be a successful digital researcher.


  • Week 1

    Scholarly communication, research promotion and digital identity

    • Introduction to The Digital Researcher

      Welcome to The Digital Researcher. Find out more about this course and what we will be covering in our first activity.

    • Digital identity

      This activity focuses on your digital identity - the sum of everything about you on the internet. How you manage and construct your digital identity is an essential aspect of scholarly communication.

    • Peer-review and publication

      This activity will introduce how research is validated and shared as part of scholarly communication.

    • Research dissemination

      Knowledge exchange is an important aspect of scholarly communication. In this activity we will consider some of the audiences you may be communicating to and why.

    • Communicating with non-specialist audiences

      This activity will introduce public communication and visual communication for research dissemination beyond academia.

    • Summary and discussion

      As we wrap up the first week, here is an opportunity to reflect on what you have learned so far and join in discussions with other participants.

  • Week 2

    Online social networks and scholarly communication tools

    • Introduction to social media

      Find out more about the tools we will be exploring this week.

    • Using established social media for scholarly communication

      This activity will focus on popular social media networks and how they can be used for scholarly communication.

    • Using professional social networks for scholarly communication

      Find out more about the use of professional and research social networks for scholarly communication.

    • Managing social networks and exploring further

      Following the introduction to a range of different social networks, this activity will look at how you can explore these further and manage your time.

    • Summary and discussion

      Discuss which tools you think will be best for you and reflect on the week.

  • Week 3

    Conducting research

    • Scholarly discovery: Searching the literature

      No new knowledge can be created without appreciating what has happened before. This activity will focus on how you can search the literature to find existing sources.

    • Scholarly metrics: Measuring impact

      This activity looks at ways in which you can view and assess the impact of research publications. (Image by Claudio Rocchini)

    • Internet-mediated Research: Online data collection & analysis

      While data collection & analysis are rooted in disciplinary approaches, this activity will focus on the methods and tools you can use when working with online, computer-mediated and social research data.

    • Ethics and research data management

      Research ethics and robust data management processes ensure we protect our participants, ourselves, our institution and our data for future use. They are essential aspects of the research process and need thorough consideration.

    • Summary and discussion

      As the week draws to a close, this provides opportunity to revisit key learning and reflect on your next steps.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Evaluate how digital social networks can be used for research networking and public scholarly communication.
  • Explore what is Open Access and how it is used in research publication.
  • Evaluate good principles for online sharing and the role of copyright and licensing in research.
  • Explore the range of research instruments and ethical issues that arise when conducting online research.
  • Evaluate the intricacies of research data management, data storage and data preservation.
  • Debate key issues with online research including ethics, data management and inclusion.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone engaged in academic research with a digital component, and will be particularly beneficial for postgraduate students and staff undertaking research in a higher education setting.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Learning Developer, based in the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull. I work with students to help them navigate the academic literacies and skills they need to be successful.

I am a Teaching Enhancement Advisor at the University of Hull. I work with staff to help them develop their teaching, focussing on their use of technology and digital practices.

Who developed the course?

University of Hull

The University of Hull has been changing the way people think for more than 90 years. As England’s 14th-oldest university, they have a proud heritage of academic excellence, life-changing research and excellent teaching. Their vision is to shape a fairer, brighter and carbon neutral future for all. As the Official University Partner of Team GB they believe extraordinary is in everyone, and together with Team GB, they’re going to help you find it.

  • Established

  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


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Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$89/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 5 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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