Twitterrers with a lot of followers certainly have an edge here. It happens everywhere. If you have a group of people who are willing to hear what you have to say, or if you have friends who you can call anytime, you can just do that and ask them for opinions or anything.
This leads us to the first way to perform research with Twitter, which is to…
1. Ask. If you follow Darren, you will occasionally find him asking questions. Not only does that encourage participation from his followers, but he also gets the information he needs to write the next blog post, or just as an insight to understand his audience better. What you could ask the followers is limited only by your imagination. Questions that can be answered quickly are winners. With the right engagement, results will pour in soon after you tweet. Directing the followers to a series of questions, such as a survey, on the Web may work but I haven’t tested this yet. To get more responses from your questions, you might be interested to learn how to ask effective questions on Twitter.
2. Search. By using publicly accessible data, you can also learn a lot. For instance, if I search for tweets from Darren and his followers, I’d be able to find out answers from his questions and use those for writing ideas or for other things.