Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

What is 23 Things?

23 Things is a self-directed course facilitated by the Researcher Development Programme. It aims to expose you to a range of digital tools that could help your professional development as a researcher, but also in your personal development as an employable individual.

The aim is for you to spend a little time each week building up and expanding your online skills. We will give you plenty of information on how to do this.

Each week, we’ll talk about a couple of different online tools or resources, and we’ll encourage you to try them out and reflect on the exercise. If you plan your time well, you should be spending just a few hours a week for 12 weeks. When you finish, you’ll have a working knowledge of the most useful and relevant online tools for professionals and researchers, be running a successful blog, and have a new online network of peers and professionals.

You will also receive a certificate of completion from the Researcher Development Programme, and be invited to attend a small party for yourself and your fellow bloggers.

23 Things for Research at Surrey is an updated version of 23 Things for Research at Oxford, which was inspired by the first 23 Things Oxford, and based on the original 23 Things program, which ran at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in the USA, in 2006.

Who is it for?

The programme is open to all researchers at the University of Surrey, regardless of their position or status (staff, student, full time, part-time, etc.). We also welcome researchers from Techne and SEnSS partner institutions. Anyone is welcome to read the blogs and join in, though we may only be able to provide support to university members.

The ‘things’ cater for all different levels of engagement, so you may find ways to take your expert digital communications further, or be introduced to some completely new tools.

How does it work?

To take part, you’ll need to set up your own blog (we’ll cover that in the first week, naturally). You can then register your blog with us (we’ll explain that too) and use it to post reflections on the Things and your participation. If you already have a blog, you’re welcome to participate through that.

We’ll add the URL of your blog to the site so that others can engage with you (and vice versa). Basically, the more you and other course members interact – by reading and commenting on blogs, and creating new things through the tools discussed – the bigger and better the little world of Things becomes.

Do I have to set up a blog? What happens to it after the programme?

Reflective, open blogging is a core part of the programme. It is the medium for reflection and for creating the community of participants. It is also used to verify that you have completed the course.

You might be worried about the privacy of your personal data, or of your online professional persona. You can use a pseudonym for your blog (and many of the other tools you register for) if you wish to remain publicly anonymous.

You are not required to keep your blog after the programme, although we encourage you to continue blogging as a medium for reflective development.

How long do I have to complete the programme?

The programme is 12 weeks long and will be cycled once a year. We encourage you to participate at the rate that best suits you – even if that means going more slowly or starting later – but sticking with the programme can help keep up the momentum and interactions between participants.

What if I need help?

Please ask! We’ll try to give clear instructions on each thing, but feel free to leave comments on the blog posts with questions, email us: rdp@surrey.ac.uk or tweet us: (@RDP_Surrey with the hashtag #23ThingsSurrey) and we’ll try to help. Since this programme is self-directed and we hope that researchers across the disciplines will participate, we encourage you to look at what fellow participants are doing and ask them questions, too!

Will there be any training classes offered to show people how to do this?

The 23 Things programme is self-directed, but our existing programme of workshops may help you to fit this course in with your schedule of research. We offer advice on time and project management, for example. See the RDP website for our current schedule of workshops.


Determined Meerkat
Photo by James & Carol Lee on Unsplash


Some content on the 23 Things for Research blog has been adapted from 23 Things for Research Oxford, 23 Things Oxford, 23 Things for Professional Development and DH23Things under their Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, as well as from the 23 Things for the Digital Professional Blog, with the permission of Emma Crag and Mark Carrigan.