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Helena Webb

Personal photo - Helena Webb

Helena Webb

Senior Researcher

39a St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LW


I am a Senior Researcher in the Department of Computer Science. I am based in the Human Centred Computing (HCC) group and am interested in exploring the inter-relationships between technologies and social practices. I use qualitative methods to conduct research on interaction, collaboration and organisation in different kinds of settings.

My background is in social sciences and my PhD (University of Nottingham) explored doctor-patient communication in specialist obesity clinics. From 2009 to 2014 I worked as a member of the Work, Interaction and Technology Research Centre (WIT) at King’s College London. I contributed to projects on a range of topics involving eye care, obesity management, electronic health records and robotic surgery technologies. I am very interested in exploring the ways that research findings can be used to benefit workplace practices – my final WIT project was a collaboration with the College of Optometrists to produce and deliver a communication skills training package for eye care practitioners. 

I joined the Department of Computer Science here in November 2014. I have been working on the ESRC funded project 'Digital Wildfire: (Mis)information flows, propagation and responsible governance' This project investigates interactions on social media platforms such as Twitter and particularly focuses on potentially harmful communication behaviours such as the spread of misinformation, hate speech and antagonistic content. The project explores opportunities for the responsible governance of social media and seeks to identify tools and mechanisms that can enhance online governance. You can find out more about the project here and follow project updates on Twitter @EthicsWildfire.

In September 2016 I began working on the EPSRC funded project “UnBias: Emancipating Users Against Algorithmic Biases for a Trusted Digital Economy”. This project looks at the user experience of algorithm driven internet services and the process of algorithm design. A large part of this work will include user group studies to understand the concerns and perspectives of citizens. UnBias aims to provide policy recommendations, ethical guidelines and a ‘fairness toolkit’ co-produced with young people and other stakeholders that will include educational materials and resources to support youth understanding about online environments as well as raise awareness among online providers about the concerns and rights of young internet users. The project is relevant for young people as well as society as a whole to ensure trust and transparency are not missing from the internet. You can follow the project on Twitter @UnBias_algos and find more information on our website

With colleagues, I have presented my research findings in a variety of written publications and conference presentations. I have also given lectures and tutorials on social theory and qualitative research methods on undergraduate and postgraduate modules. In Oxford I teach on the Requirements Engineering module in Trinity term.


Selected Publications

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