Dr Laura Sbaffi

BSc (Urbino), MSc (Urbino), MA (Manchester Metropolitan), PhD (Trieste)

Information School

Senior Lecturer in Health Informatics

Laura Sbaffi
Profile picture of Laura Sbaffi
+44 114 222 2686

Full contact details

Dr Laura Sbaffi
Information School
Room C238
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

I joined the Information School in June 2016. I started my academic career as Visiting Scholar at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge between 1996 and 2000. In the years following my PhD degree I held research positions at the University of Urbino (Italy), the University of East Anglia (UK) and the Australian National University (Australia).

I then worked as research Scientist at the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (Geoscience Australia) for several years. In 2012 I completed my MA in Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University and, immediately after, I joined the Department of Information and Communications there, where I worked in the Information and Interactions Research Group.

In June 2015 I joined Ashfield Insight and Performance in Macclesfield as Healthcare and Scientific Researcher, where I specialised in current pharmaceutical market research strategies.

In 2021 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer.

University Responsibilities

  • Head of the Health Informatics Research Group
  • Unfair Means Officer
  • Member of the Senate Discipline Panel
Research interests

I have a number of ongoing research interests:

  • I have been working on digital trust formation in relation to health information, by focussing on what modalities and cues young adults follow when looking for online health information and how they differ from those of more mature people. I have also worked on gender attitudes towards online information and trust judgements.
  • I am conducting research both in the UK and Malawi (GCRF QR grant) to address the information needs of informal carers of people with degenerative conditions such as dementia and HIV. I am also looking at ICT solutions to promote the development of Shared Health Records to improve health data use for action within the Uganda health system.
  • I am looking at strategies to reduce information overload in healthcare workers and, at the moment, am focusing on NHS emergency doctors and the factors influencing such perceived overload.
  • I recently completed a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fund grant (217871/Z/19/Z) with Dr Jonathan Foster and Prof Suzanne Mason to improve our understanding of the factors that influence patients to consent to sharing their personal data for purposes beyond their direct care, e.g. research and planning.

I am also interested in topics beyond health informatics:

  • I have been exploring the attitudes of academics towards open access publishing and regularly collaborate with Taylor & Francis on similar topics.
  • I am interested in the Research Data Management policy and practice in countries around the world and currently focussing on China.

I would be interested in supervising PhD topics in the following areas:

  • Information needs of informal caregivers from BAME groups
  • Needs of informal caregivers in national and international settings, with a particular interest in the developing world
  • Digital inclusion of under-represented groups

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers



Research group

Current PhD students

  • Aisha Alshammari: Exploring and understanding factors that affect the adoption of Personal Health Records among healthcare providers and patients in Saudi Arabia
  • Suzanne Duffin: A study of information needs and information sharing amongst people on the autism spectrum, using online support and discussion  groups
  • Rosie Higman: Open Access and the Role of the National Library
  • Muntaha Alam Nafisa: Adoption of integrated medical dental records in the UK.
  • Lee Pretlove: The quantified runner: the long-term value and preservation of parkrunners' self-tracking fitness data from the perspectives of the parkrunner, self-tracking device manufacturers and archival institutions
Teaching activities

I coordinate (or have coordinated) several modules available here at the Information School:

  • INF6514 Introduction to Health Informatics
  • INF6535 Analysis of Health Information
  • INF6580 Libraries, Information and Society
  • INF6029 Data Analysis
Professional activities and memberships

Membership of professional bodies


Journal and conference reviewing


  • Online Information Review
  • Health Informatics Journal
  • Program, Perspectives in Public Health
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Sustainability
  • Journal of Medical Internet Research
  • BMC Medical Education
  • Journal of Information Literacy


  • Next Generation Computing Applications 2017 July 19-21, Mauritius
  • iConference 2018, Sheffield
  • CILIP HLG Conference 2018, Keele
  • EAHIL Conference 2018, Cardiff
  • iConference 2019, Washington
  • iConference2020, Borås

Other roles

  • PhD external examiner at Sheffield Hallam University and Huddersfield University
  • Reviewer for the Italian Register of Scientific Experts (REPRISE)
  • Advisor for the WellSpoken mark for quality accreditation of health online information