Dr Stefanie Anja Hills

School of English

Research Associate

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Full contact details

Dr Stefanie Anja Hills
School of English
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA
I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Corpus Linguistics at the School of English, where I contribute to the highly interdisciplinary project 'Many Happy Returns'. I joined the University of Sheffield in March 2022. Prior to this I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. I hold a PhD in Information Management from Loughborough University, an MSc in Forensic Speech Science from the University of York, and an MA (hons.) in English & Language – Linguistics from the University of Aberdeen. I am a Sociolinguist with a methodological preference for corpus and computationally assisted discourse analysis.
Between 2013 and 2022 I was an Associate Lecturer in Research Methods at the University of Northampton. Whilst studying for my PhD, I was a Research Assistant at the University of Birmingham's Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security and at Loughborough University's Centre for Academic Practice. In addition to my academic posts, I also have over a decade of industry experience as a Computational Linguist in the Speech and Language Technology sector.
Research interests
I am a Computational Sociolinguist with a particular interest in Political Communication, Digital Media and Natural Language Processing. 
In my current role, I am exploring the public-facing and consumer-generated discourse around plastic reuse. Prior to that, I was working on a Twitter-funded project at the University of Liverpool's Department of Communication and Media, where we created a multi-label AI Hate Speech classifier capable of disentangling intolerance from incivility. 
My doctoral research (‘Persuasion in the Digital Age: A Theoretical Model of Persuasion in Terse Text’) at the Centre for Information Management at Loughborough University explored how the increasingly prevalent terse text format of Social Media communication has affected the ways in which we seek to persuade one another and whether it has impacted the applicability of existing models of persuasion, influence and attitude change. The research drew upon and collated existing knowledge from Linguistics, Political Communication, Behavioural Science, Rhetoric, and Cognitive Science and developed a comprehensive understanding of persuasive mechanisms relevant to terse text Social Media, based on data collected around a number of then-current political campaigns and topics of debate.  My work is, broadly speaking, concerned with the intersection between digital media, democracy, and activism, and revolves around four focal points: 
1) Persuasion, influence, and argumentation on Social Media, with a particular focus on the impact of cognitive bias and fallacious reasoning, 
2) harmful online discourse and its democratic and societal implications, 
3) information warfare and the spread of misinformation and disinformation on Social Media, with a particular focus on effective counter-narratives and inoculation,
4) Social Media and the individual communicator - in particular with regards to the notion of credibility in political, social, and scientific activism.