DFID have recently published a report on how they use social media for research, monitoring and evaluation in the Middle East and North Africa.
The report offers a fascinating insight into the effectiveness and efficiency of using social media as a research tool for M&E. The research included an analysis of Twitter data and considers areas such as identifying social media influencers in sharing of knowledge, assessing negative versus positive sentiment and what kinds of topics were being discussed.
Methodological approaches are also discussed, outlining some of the limitations such as availability of data and the difficulty of defining the demographic characteristics of Twitter users. 23,693 tweets were purchased via data-reseller Gnip. This sample was pre-selected using common keywords associated with relevant topics.
It’s an interesting report, especially if you are considering using Twitter data collection for international development M&E. There is also a very useful bibliography.
Another DFID Practice Note worth reading is “Using Social Media Data in International Development Research, Monitoring and Evaluation’.