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Blog post

Twitter’s contributions to the neurodivergent educator

Mike Scott, EdD researcher at Bournemouth University


In this blog post, I share my research journey, blending my pursuit of a Doctorate in Education (EdD) with being a neurodivergent researcher. I focus on a study exploring how neurodivergent educators use Twitter for professional practice.[1] The primary objective with this study is to illuminate the multilayered dimensions of my own experiences as a neurodivergent educator, positioning them as the central axis for an authentic portrayal of the challenges and opportunities encountered by neurodivergent educators in their professional practice and engagement on Twitter.

This blog post navigates the nuanced terrain of the neurodivergent educator’s utilisation of Twitter, scrutinising both the expected and unexpected thematic elements. Furthermore, it underscores the pivotal necessity of refining the study methodology to substantially contribute to the broader discourse on inclusivity within higher education institutions.

Layered narratives: A mixed-method exploration

Embarking on my research journey, I wholeheartedly embrace autoethnography as the primary methodology, using it as a powerful means to unveil the layers of my experiences as a neurodivergent educator (Adams et al., 2015). In this approach, I leverage my thesis’s multimodal aspects of voice and mixed media, allowing my lived experiences to be a primal focal point. Through the lens of autoethnography, I purposefully draw from my own journey, presenting an authentic and relatable viewpoint on the distinctive challenges and opportunities neurodivergent educators face in their use of Twitter for professional practice and socialisation (Scott & Gibson, 2023). Simultaneously, I actively engage with the neurodivergent educator community on Twitter, adopting a participatory research approach. This collaborative stance allows for a dynamic exchange with fellow educators, as together we seek to unravel the experiences, challenges and successes when navigating Twitter for neurodivergent individuals. Through participatory research, I bridge the personal and communal, intimately connecting my experiences with the broader context of the neurodivergent educator community (Hacker, 2013).

‘Through the lens of autoethnography, I purposefully draw from my own journey, presenting an authentic and relatable viewpoint on the distinctive challenges and opportunities neurodivergent educators face in their use of Twitter for professional practice and socialisation.’

Themes and future considerations

In the pilot study, themes emerged organically such as professional identity, neurodiversity, social media usage during the Covid-19 pandemic, third space environments, and platform limitations on Twitter. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis, utilising an inductive approach, was employed to uncover these themes. The analysis involved extracting insights from Zoom-recording transcripts and exploring keywords in the Padlet exercise. These identified themes – although anticipated in the study – played a pivotal role in shaping new lines of inquiry and informed the development of the online survey.

While intriguing, the emergence of the theme of activism poses a challenge in maintaining the comprehensiveness of the current focus within the study’s scope. Recognition of its potential as a future research project prompts a careful consideration of its alignment with the overall objectives of this primary study.

Acknowledging the provisional similarity of themes between the initial interviews and subsequent activities, I am actively addressing this issue to refine the entire study. I have found this pilot study to be a valuable part of the doctoral journey, enhancing the depth and richness of the forthcoming research.


As a neurodivergent researcher, my personal journey guides this authentic exploration of how Twitter contributes to the neurodivergent educator community. This blog post acts as a prelude to the upcoming comprehensive study, offering insight into the intricacies of my research methodology and the solid foundations laid during the pilot study. Through this ongoing journey, I aim to empower and support my fellow neurodivergent educators, making meaningful contributions to promoting diverse and inclusive approaches within higher education institutions.

In my full study, I hope to provide recommendations that will help higher education institutions better understand and support neurodivergent educators. This support includes facilitating active participation in academia, providing avenues for career progression, mentorship, and showcasing role models for neurodivergent students.

[1] Note that, following Elon Musk’s takeover and recent changes, including the name shift to X, I use the old name here, considering it was the original proposal and is cited in the pilot study.


Adams, T. E., Holman Jones, S. L., & Ellis, C. (2015). Autoethnography. Oxford University Press.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2022). Thematic analysis: A practical guide. SAGE.

Hacker, K. (2013). Community-based participatory research. SAGE.

Scott, M., & Gibson, P. F. (2023). Designing institutional systems that support neurodivergent educators. Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, 16(2).