Dr Sophie Rutter

BA (SOAS, London), MSc (Sheffield), PhD (Sheffield), SFHEA

Information School

Senior Lecturer in Information Management

Sophie Rutter
Profile picture of Sophie Rutter
+44 114 222 2659

Full contact details

Dr Sophie Rutter
Information School
Room C223
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

I joined the Information School at Sheffield in March 2019. I am currently researching hand hygiene at work for both office workers and those who work on the move. I am also working on a project that aims to create an agenda for embedding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in usability testing. Previously as a research fellow in communication design at the University of Leeds (2018-2019), I worked with children on a co-design project to transform school toilets and motivate hand hygiene.

My PhD (Sheffield, 2017) focused on children’s use of search technologies and the influence of the school environment.  I continue to be interested in using naturalistic methods with children and other user groups.

Prior to academia, I worked in industry for several years as the web and communications manager for the Port of London Authority (2001-2006), a project manager for Futura Interactive (2000-2001), and as an online publication coordinator for Donovan Data Systems (1993-1999).

University Responsibilities

  • Deputy Programme Coordinator for MSc Information Management
  • Module Coordinator for INF6060 Information Retrieval: Search Engines and Digital Libraries
Research interests

I am the principal investigator on the hand hygiene at work project. This project currently has two strands.  Strand one, in collaboration with the University of Leeds and Savortex (an SME specialising in hand hygiene technology), aims to understand how organisations and their employees perceive hand hygiene within the workplace. Strand two investigates the everyday experiences of  mobile workers' access to facilities as part of their work.

I am the principal investigator on the embedding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in usability testing project. This project aims to create an agenda that embeds EDI in usability testing.

I am also interested in how the environment influences the way people interact with information, what techniques people use to search for information, and how information use can be evaluated in different environments. My research so far has been broadly focused on school children, workplace settings, search interfaces and health communication.

I am interested in supervising PhD projects in the following areas

  • Hand hygiene and more broadly health communication
  • Information seeking behaviour 
  • Human Computer Interaction (HCI) studies 
  • Inclusive user research

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers


  • Pinfield S, Cox A & Rutter S (2017) Mapping the future of academic libraries: A report for SCONUL View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Birdi B, Pinfield S, Wakeling S & Rutter S (2015) Investigating interlending: a scoping study of resource discovery, sharing and cooperation View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

I am a member of the Information Retrieval research group.

Current PhD students

Fahad ALenezi

Khalid Fallatah

Juan Manuel Becerril del Toro


 Embedding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Usability Testing

Research England QR-Policy Support Funding

Principal Investigator


1 Jan 2022

3 months

Hand hygiene for mobile workers: developing and disseminating evidence-based policy to support covid recovery

Research England Covid Recovery Fund and Research England QR-Policy Support Funding

Principal Investigator


1 Jan 2022

7 months

Workplace smart sanitiser guidance: dissemination and impact


Principal Investigator


19 Jul 2021

12 months

 Smart sanitisation: Development and evaluation of a smart hand sanitiser system for use in the office environment

Innovate UK

Principal Investigator


1 Dec 2020

15 months

 Awarded £109,060 from Innovate UK as part of a £570,562 funded project in collaboration with Savortex (SME) and University of Leeds. The project is to develop and evaluate a smart (IoT) hand sanitiser system for use in the office environment.

Teaching activities

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach information retrieval (INF6060), public and youth library services (INF6031 / 6531), HCI (INF6430) and dissertation research methods (INF6340, INF6000).

Professional activities and memberships

Membership of professional bodies

  • Senior Fellow of the HEA

Committee and advisory group membership

  • Chair (2022-2023) / Past Chair (2023-2024), ASIS&T European Chapter
  • Advisory board member,  123 Germ Free

Journal and conference reviewing

  • Journal of Documentation
  • CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems)
  • Health care
  • Environmental Health Insights
  • iFutures
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal of Information Management
  • Library and Information Research
  • Online Information Review
  • Pakistan Journal of Information Management & Libraries

Invited presentations

  • Rutter, S. (2021). Communicating and evaluating health messages during a pandemic. Keynote. Information Science Trends - ASIS&T European Chapter Series.
  • Rutter, S. (2021). Trialling a novel evaluation method to pre-test hand hygiene messages. Cap Gemini.