Scientists Joking on Social Media: An Empirical Analysis of #overlyhonestmethods

Molly Simis-Wilkinson, Haley Madden, David Lassen, Leona Yi Fan Su, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele, Michael A. Xenos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The #overlyhonestmethods trend on Twitter is a space used by many scientists to peel back the curtain on their work and share observations and insights into the research world. We employ computer-assisted coding to assess the themes of 58,125 #overlyhonestmethods posts from January 7, 2013—the hashtag’s inception—to January 6, 2016. We additionally manually code a random sample of the census of tweets to evaluate the types of humor employed, as well as the targets of jokes and exclusivity of language. We offer analyses of this self-deprecating, insider conversation and an assessment of the associated ethical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-339
Number of pages26
JournalScience Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Twitter
  • benign violation theory
  • humor
  • science communication
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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