Photo of Jenny Lund

Jenny Lund - the 23 research things blog

Hi everyone, this is my first blog, created as part of the University of Cambridge 23 research things project. The main site for the project can be found here. Over the course of the next 8 weeks I will be blogging about my experiences with the research topics presented - so here goes nothing!
Email me to leave a comment or let me know what you think.

Thing 1 Thing 2 Thing 3 Thing 4 Thing 5 Thing 6 Thing 7 Thing 8 Thing 9 Thing 10 Thing 11 Thing 12
Thing 13 Thing 14 Thing 15 Thing 16 Thing 17 Thing 18 Thing 19 Thing 20 Thing 21 Thing 22 Thing 23

Thing 14: Sourcing and using good images

Photo of chocolate cake

Credit: Photo by FriendInKneadOnlinecakeshop at

Tasked to find a photo we really liked and put it on our page with appropriate credit - I think the photo is self explanatory as to why I really liked it!

In the past I've always been a bit hesitant about using images that I haven't created myself because I've been concerend about the implications (although I am starting to wonder about the image of the ikea chair I used in an earlier post....). Having some understanding of the CC licences and how to use them is really helpful and will probably make me a bit more confident in future. I will admit to having used images I've found on the internet in small group teaching presentations in the past and will now try and do better with this. I also really like the list of other places to get images from!

Thing 13: Creative commons licensing

I'm one of those people who has seen the symbol for creative commons before but never understood the implication. I like the idea of CC and the website is certainly easy to use and makes it easy to add creative commons to any content I publish which is something I will consider in future. I will also be aware of check when I consider using images etc from other websites. I do wonder however how easy it would be to enforce a CC licence in practice if I found someone misuing my content. Asking them to cease and desist certainly but if they ignore? Would I have have to pay lawyers, which court would I takeit to, particularly if used internationally?

Thing 12: Presenting and sharing

Task: to create a simple 5 slide powerpoint on anything and share it, then reflect on your experience of presentations..

So I've created a presentation that maybe isn't the greatest but Thing 12 did get me thinking about the presentations I have done recently. I am definitely guilty of 'death by bullet point' and of not using enough pictures. My next presentation will be different. The last good presentation I went to had very little to do with the slides and everything to do with the enthusiasm and skill of the speaker. I think how important the slides are really depends on how they are going to be used. There is a huge different between slides used simply to trigger off a point in the talk vs slides that are going to be used as handouts and notes for others to come back later. I think it also depends on whether the presentation is only going to be given by a single person or whether is a presentation that might be delivered multiple times by multiple people.

NB: I didn't use slideshare as didn't really want to create a linkedin login but have shared instead with google slides - hope this is ok!

Thing 11: Communicating for free - youtube and podcasts

I'm going to cheat slightly with this weeks task which was to find one great youtube video and one great podcast and link to them in a blog by using a couple I already know about.

This is one of my favourite youtube videos and shows a complex scientific idea can be communicated in way everyone can understand, I really enjoy it and have used it to teach others. In general I find just searching you tube for the TED talks produces all sorts of interesting results from 'do schools kill creativitiy' to 'debunking third world myths with statistics'. In summary I highly recommend the TED talks on youtube. I'm also really excited the new John Lewis christmas add will be up there tomorrow saving me having to watch a program I'll hate just to see some cute penguins/snowmen or dogs. Where else in the world apart from youtube would you get all that?

My favourite podcasts of the moment are found
here on the radio 2 website. Unashamedly nothing to do with science or research but guaranteed to give me a laugh on the way home after a long day (hint: don't try and drink anything whilst listening, it WILL end badly). Another podcast I really enjoy, with a slightly more scientific theme, is from radio 4's 'More or Less' found here. Also a good one for sitting in traffic on the M11 on the way home.

The real challenge from this thing though is 'am I brave enough to create my own'? Short answer, not yet, but maybe in future.

Thing 10: Communicating complex ideas

Today's thing was a podcast on communicating complex ideas. Ties in nicely with the dreaded PPI (public patient involvement) that is currently a hot topic.

I attended a very interesting talk at a conference a couple of months ago about communicating with the media. A lot of what the lecturer said is reinforced in this podcast. The headline message of the talk was 'what is your hook?', ie what is the one statement that will get people to ask you more questions and I think being able to simplify down the key concept of research is important when disseminating work. This can be used as a starter point to talk in more detail.

Avoiding jargon is also very important working in medical research, how do I change the message when I am talking to a roomful of my peers vs a roomful of patients or study participants. How does the 'lay summary' in my research proposal differ from the 'techincal summary' I have been asked to produce. And how do I do this without coming across as patronising, particularly when working with expert patients?

Lots to think about before thing 11.

Thing 9: First experiences with git hub.

Thing 9 was all about experimenting with non-traditional online communities, we were asked to pick one of reddit/wikipedia/github to explore. I chose github because statistical coding has become a major part of my research at the moment and I am dealing with some big data sets. I am working with the R statistical package as it is what I did my statistical training in (and it's free) but most of the prior work in the department is in stata so I'm starting from scratch.

I've done a lot of googling for R code over the last few weeks-months and am slighlty suprised I've never thought to look on github before. I think I've been put off by the fact my husband is a 'proper' programmer who uses it all the time and it wasn't a space for an amateur. I was pleasantly suprised by what I found, lots of useful stuff I could 'fork' (aka copy). I also feel it might be a good place to centralise my store of R code as it currently is in lots of different folders relating to different projects. Having it all in one repository where I could find the basics any time I start a project would save me a lot of time. Thanks 23researchthingscam for another helpful resource.

Now to consider being brave and editing a wikipedia page.....

Thing 8: Researchgate

Already being a researchgate user I've chosen to explore this one over I initally got started with researchgate after it was recommended by a senior colleague. I've found it very helpful for keeping up to date with what others in my department are publishing. I've also used it successfully to request access to papers I want to read for my research and be able to correspond with the authors.

I hadn't been aware of the copyright/funder issues related to uploading papers and will be really careful about this in future so have definitely learnt something from this research thing.

Thing 7: LinkedIn

Being honest - I have my e-mail account set so all messages from LinkedIn go straight to spam, there are just so many and most of them are from people I don't know or want to connect with. Following the thing 7 blog post I have spent some time considering joining properly but I just don't think I would keep it up to date. If you google me you get a link to my University of Cambridge profile page which is likely to be up-to-date with what I am doing research wise. In my other (non-research) job keeping my privacy is quite important and I feel at the moment that putting more personal information on linkedin is just another online risk to this. Maybe in time.....

Thing 6: Creating new content - Storify, paperli,

Task: To try out two of the tools in the 23researchthingscam blog.

So I decided to try out storify and I've been a long time user of social media in my personal life (admittely a facebook addict, and I like instagramming my dogs....) but being fairly new to research I am trying to get my head around using it professionally and making it useful rather than just a chore.

I can see how storify could be useful when running an event to provide a nice synopsis of everything that has gone on, but I feel it relies too heavily on everyobe else being social media addicts too - what would you miss because you were focussing on twitter and not what was going on? I also not sure about the layout - who scrolls down more than a couple of items to find something interesting before giving up? I love. I entered my research topic and came up with a whole range of useful information. Also social gossip and information about my profession. I think at the moment I will mostly use to collate information and to keep up to date with what is going on rather than creating published papers for others but maybe in future.... It's certainly good for refining down the huge variety of published 'stuff' that is out there.

Thing 5: Twitter

#sorrytheblogislate #realresearchgettingintheway #stillstrugglingtomaketimetochecktwitter #feelingambivalentabouthastags #howtojoinaconversation #tryingtousetwitterforresearch #tryingnottojusttweetdogphotos #enoughthoughtsabouttweets?

Thing 4: Feedly, Zetoc and Pocket, learning how to keep track of everything

I've had a play with the tools suggested. I'm still not sure I completely get RSS feeds - how are they different to subscribing to blog and getting notifications? Or folllowing things on twitter? I've got a suspicion that I will end up never checking feedly. I've also set up Zetoc alerts, I'm hoping this will be useful but I'm yet to get any notifications from them. I think this is similar to a tool I already use - the 'McMasters Evidence Updates' from the BMJ, which send a weekly e-mail with research relevant to me. It's slightly more detailed in that it allows me to set weightings on how important a topic is to me. I do however have to pay for it as part of my subscription.

The tool I like the best is pocket. I am forever adding web links to my favourites to look at later or keep and then ending up with a horrendously long list of links where I can't remember what half of them are for. I really love the layout of this which makes it much easier to work out what the link is. Also really easy to do and with the installed button on chrome so quick to save links.

Photo of ikea armchair

Thing 3: An Ikea Chair

Task - to google yourself and reflect on how you feel about the results and your online identity.

Having googled myself it turns out I'm an Ikea chair..... Nine out of ten of the first results relate to the chair. The other is my profile on the university website. Reassuringly it didn't pick up any of my other social media accounts and I wasn't able to find my personal accounts. I'm more concerned in future about how I build my online identity to disseminate my research and maintain a professional as opposed to a personal profile.

Thing 2: Starting a blog

13th October 2016

Today I created this, my very first, blog. One of the reasons for doing this course was that I have recently attended the university "Introduction to HTML" and "Introduction to CSS" courses and I wanted to use the skills I had learned. I have chosen to create this blog from scratch (writing the html and CSS myself) to work on my understanding of these languages, so please forgive the fact this blog looks a little clunky!

Thing 2 asked us to consider how we felt about reflective writing and blogs as a form of this. In my professional life I am required to do a certain amount of reflective writing as part of my professional portfolio. I'll be honest. I hate it. I find it time consuming and boring, mostly because I am 'reflecting' for someone else to read and judge satisfactory. I hope that blogging will allow me more freedom to write about what I want to write about, with no pass or fail, in a more informal style that is more 'me'.

Putting this blog together took longer than I thought it would, mostly because I kept getting basics wrong such as forgetting to close tags. Ah well. Hopefully now the structure is set up it will be much easier to update in future. I also hope that over the next 8 weeks it will get a little more neat looking, possibly with some other pages such as 'about me'. I also hope to get better at knowing what to write in these blog posts. That's all for now - I've spent far to long creating this blog already - see you in Thing 3!

Thing 1: Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.....

13th October 2016

The first 23 things challenge was an exercise to write a list, and blog it, of all the things we hope to get out of 23 things. Here is the list of things I hope to get out of following 23 things:

1.How to blog
2.How to use twitter better to disseminate my research
3.Using free stuff, particularly images, legally for web stuff and for presentations etc
4.How to make better online professional networks
5.How to portray myself professionally online
6. How to disseminate my research via social media and increase impact

Authors note: See thing 2 for the blog on creating this blog.