About Me

An expert on the contemporary developments in digital media and communications with an emphasis on the social understanding and analysis of digital media. Currently a GSR badged professional member of a data science team specialising in qualitative analysis and social media for HMRC. I gather and assure a variety of data, both qualitative and quantitative, making management information and business intelligence available. I gather customer feedback and present actionable insight to business areas from Ministerial level to service leads.

As well as excellent IT skills and the collection and analysis of social media data I am an expert in using Word, spreadsheets, databases, Endnote and RefMan, I have also acquired skills in various software technology for analysis; Nvivo, SPSS, UCinet, R, Python, web crawlers, Gephi, NodeXL, blogs, IssueCrawler, HTTrack, NetDraw, Pajek and Leximancer to name only a few.

I have lectured on contemporary developments in media and communications with an emphasis on the social understanding and analysis of digital media; social media platforms and the public sphere; the politics and philosophy of digital media; and media and communications research methodologies in London.

I previously lectured on public relations, persuasion and propaganda, political campaign strategies, and communication and global change to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Leeds and Sheffield Hallam.

As well as PhD in Communications Studies (Leeds) I have a B.A. (Hons.) in Philosophy and Sociology from The Queen’s University of Belfast, an M.A. in Philosophy and Social Theory from the University of Warwick and a Master of Research in Social Research from the University of Aberdeen. My research explores the socio-political dimensions of the Internet and other technologies, using Social Network Analysis, Semantic Network Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis. I was awarded a Research Student Scholarship in 2008 to 2012. I was commissioned in 2009 by the Home Office to conduct a literature review for the report on the Sexualisation of Young People with Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

Previous Roles

Steven joined Leeds Institute of Health Sciences in 2012 (until March 2013) as a research assistant within the Academic Unit of Primary Care. Previously he held two posts at the University of Leeds – Teaching Assistant on a number of modules within the Institute of Communications Studies and Research Assistant on the ‘Leeds Media Ecology Project’ and on the ‘Socialisation of the Sexually Explicit Imagery: Challenges to Regulation and on the Research, Porn Cultures and Policy Network‘. He was also an Independent Research Assistant on The Sexualisation of Young People, commissioned by the Violent Crimes Unit within the UK Home Office. Previous to this Steven lectured on Sociology, Research Methods and Methodology in colleges in Singapore before returning to the UK to begin his MRes at Aberdeen.

Current Research Interests

Steven’s research focuses on a mixed methods approach to studying contemporary society, politics and policies with a number of different streams running concurrently. He combines sociology, communication theory, political theory, social network analysis, semantic network analysis, visualisations, network ethnography and linguistic analysis of large data sets.

Current and Recent Research

  • The role of informal networks in spreading knowledge between healthcare managers, Ward, V., Keen, J., Pawson, R., West, R., House, A. NIHR Service Delivery & Organisation Programme (SDO). 2010-2012; £298,917.
  • Webometrics mapping consultant and co-author with Blumler, J., Coleman, S., Stamper, J., Thumim, N., and Moss, G., researching the Leeds Media Ecology. 2011 – 2012.
  • Independent Research Assistant on ‘The Sexualisation of Young People’, commissioned by the Violent Crimes Unit within the UK Home Office with Dr Linda Papadopoulos. 2009 – 2010.
  • The ‘Socialisation of the Sexually Explicit Imagery: Challenges to Regulation and Research, Porn Cultures and Policy Network’ with Sarikakis, K., and Tsaliki, L.,. 2009 – 2010.


I am interested in the social network analysis of large scale communications technologies and data mining from an ethnographic perspective.

Doctoral Thesis: Countering the Social Ignorance of ‘Social’ Network Analysis and Data Mining: with the Singapore Blogosphere as a Case Study (Download (pdf – 8Mb)


Master modules on Public Relations and Digital Research; Masters modules on Advertising and Innovative Methods and Technological Futures; and BA (Hons) modules on Media and Communications at the London College of Communications at the University of the Arts, London (UAL).

On the BA (Hons) Public Relations and Media ‘Persuasion, Promotion and Propaganda’ – Sheffield Hallam University

Masters module -‘Communications & Global Change’ COMM5210M @COMM5210M

Masters module – ‘Political Campaigns & PR’ COMM5620M @COMM5620M


‘Power, Politics and the Media’ COMM1950 with Dr Robin Brown

‘Communications Research Methods’ COMM2910 with Dr Nancy Numim

‘Communication and Public Opinion’ COMM5630M with Dr Katrin Voltmer

‘Communication Arts’ COMM2120 with ICS with Dr Bethany Klein

‘Communications Sciences & Technologies’ COMM2140 with Dr Stephen Lax

Consultant/Research Assistant

Independent Research Assistant on The Sexualisation of Young People, commissioned by the Violent Crimes Unit within the UK Home Office with Dr Linda Papadopulus.

Research Assistant on the Socialisation of the Global Sexually Explicit Imagery: Challenges to Policy and Research Project. 2009 – 2010

McDermott, Steven (2016) An Analysis of Big Data on Health: Critique is Not Optional. In: Vice and Virtue: the Rise of Self-Tracking Technologies and the Moralising of ‘Health, 9th May 2016 to 13th May 2016, Brocher Foundation.

(2014) Ward V, West R, Smith S, McDermott S, Keen J, Pawson R, et al. The role of informal networks in creating knowledge among health-care managers: a prospective case study. Health Serv Deliv Res 2014;2(12)

(2010) “White’s Three Disciplines and Relative Valuation Order: Countering the Social Ignorance of Automated Data Collection and Analysis,” asonam, pp.72-79, 2010 International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, 2010

(2008) Arbitrarily Combining the Social Network Approach with the Ethnographic Approach, Paper presented at the Communication Networks on the Web Conference, Dec 2008, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, sponsored by the European Science Foundation.

(2008) A Hyperlink Analysis of the UK Porn Industry’, Paper presented at the Globalisation, Media and Adult/Sexual Content: Challenges to Regulation and Research Conference, Athens, 2008.

(2008) ‘The Singapore Blogosphere: What form of Habermasian Public Sphere?, Paper presented as thePolitics: Web 2.0: An International Conference, April 2008, Royal Holloway, University of London, April 17-18, 2008.

(2007) ‘Singapore Blogosphere and Political Participation: An Ethnographic Approach’, Conference Proceedings of ICS PhD Conference “Communication Technologies of Empowerment”, Institute of Communications Studies, May 2007, Leeds, UK. .


Price, S., (2009) Discourse Power Address: The Politics of Public Communication. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing for Sociology 43(6), Sage Publications.

Julio Faundez, (editor) (2007) ‘On the State of Democracy’, Routledge, for the International Journal for Radical Mass Media Criticism.


E-mail: stevenmcdermott@gmail.com