Study with Stephann

Studying for a PhD can be a highly rewarding experience that will enable you to enhance your existing knowledge, create new knowledge and share the new knowledge you create with others. It also serves as training for a career in research and academia. A full-time PhD in the UK takes around 3 years to complete and involves regular supervision from one or more experts in your chosen field of study.

Stephann would be happy to discuss opportunities for full or part-time PhD study in London. Please contact him to arrange a face-to-face meeting, telephone call or virtual meeting.

Stephann would be particularly interested in supervising PhDs in the broad areas of:
  • Information interaction - understanding how people find, interpret and make use of digital information and using this understanding to design digital tools to support them in doing so.
  • Human-Computer Interaction - understanding human needs for technology and using this understanding to help design technology that meets those needs.
  • Information Science and Technology - understanding how peoples' information needs and behaviour can be supported by technology.

He is particularly interested in supervising PhDs that involve either understanding aspects of information interaction to inform design or designing and evaluating novel information interaction environments, particuarly infomation-seeking and encountering environments. Here are more details on these broad areas, including ideas of specific focus areas for potential PhD study.

Understanding information interaction to inform design

Most of us interact with digital information several times a day - not just when checking our social media feeds or searching the Web, but also when deciding which transport route to take to work or what weather-suitable clothing to wear. We may not always think about it, but Human Information Interaction is an essental part of many of our work and every-day life activites - from conducting research for a report, to deciding how best to invest our money. While we have a good understanding of some aspects of how people interact with information (e.g. their active search behaviour), other aspects have been less researched - such as their browsing and exploration behaviour, their (often passive) information encountering behaviour and their behaviour when making sense and use of the information they have found. PhD topics in this area will involve gaining a rich, qualitative understanding of under-researched aspects of Human Information Interaction, using a combination of approaches including semi-structured interviews, laboratory and 'in the wild' observations and diary studies. They will involve generating theory (e.g. models, frameworks or theories) from the empirical data obtained and using this data to create (and perhaps implement) guidelines for the design of digital information environments. Examples of under-researched aspects of Human Information Interaction include (but are not limited to):

  • How creative professionals encounter information serendipitously and use this information to drive the creative design process;
  • How knowledge workers use the information they have found to create new knowledge;
  • How students develop expertise in going beyond search to find information;
  • How people mitigate information overload during information-seeking;
  • How various groups of users keep up-to-date with information using digital technologies.

Designing and evaluating novel information-seeking and encountering environments

To support new forms of information interaction, it is often necessary to move beyond the evolutionary improvement of digital information environments by designing novel, perhaps 'revolutionary' new tools and evaluating them with potential users. PhD topics in this area will involve gaining a detailed understanding of the information requirements of a chosen user group and feeding this understanding into the co-design and evaluation of original new tools that aim to better support information acquisition and use. Examples of potential tools include (but are not limited to):
  • Tools that help people browse or maintain awareness of information in new ways;
  • Tools that help people explore, encounter, discover or stumble upon information in new ways;
  • Tools that help people capture and manage information they have found in new ways;
  • Tools that help people appraise, apply, synthesise and otherwise work with information they have found in new ways.

Stephann would also be happy to supervise research on a broad range of HCI and Information Science topics, particularly if you already have an idea you're passionate about. Contact him to arrange an informal chat.