Information systems research group

Information systems research addresses the transformative potential of information and communication technologies in society and organisations.

Information Systems

Our research themes

The largest growth in most world economies today is driven by information-intensive industries.

This success reveals that organisations are increasingly knowledge-based and reliant on information systems, which are pervasive in all sectors of activity, from private for-profit organisations to governments, educational institutions and civil society organisations.

Our research group addresses the transformative potential of information and communication technologies within society and organisations, focusing on the adoption, exploitation, management and creative use of information systems in a variety of organisational and social contexts.

Key research areas

  • Information society and globalisation
  • Global sourcing
  • ICTs and development
  • Information systems thinking and strategic planning
  • Information systems deployment
  • Human capital in information systems
  • Organisational transformation and information systems
  • Project management and change management
  • Adoption of and trust in information systems
  • Barriers and Enablers to the use of Information Systems
  • Distributed collaborative systems development
  • Innovation, R&D and Networks
  • E-learning in corporate and education settings

Projects and research areas

Adopting epistemologies of the Global South to reimagine innovation for social inclusion and environmental sustainability

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Focusing on Peru (ODA country), this project gathered leading experts interested in exploring the extent to which innovation (policy & implementation) can be guided and informed by indigenous knowledges. It adopted the concept of Buen Vivir (sumac kawsay), which stems from Andean indigenous bodies of knowledge and represents an ontological and epistemological alternative to Western thought.

Funded by University of Sheffield GCRF QR small research grants

Metropolitan water observatory

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This research will take place in Lima, Peru, in collaboration with KNOW City Partner, Foro Ciudades Para La Vida. Their project, ‘Metropolitan water observatory’, will explore the potential of co-developing a virtual platform for citizens of Lima and Callao to input information, concerns and issues regarding water, in order to produce evidence that can influence decision-making towards more equal water distribution.

Funded by KNOW: Knowledge in action for urban equality 

Understanding the role of mobile phones in promotion the social inclusion of internally displaced people: A Nigerian Perspective

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This project aims to examine how conflict- induced IDP affected by the "Boko-Haram Insurgency" in Nigeria are using their mobile phones to contribute to the social inclusion during camp settlement.

The Internet of Everything

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Project Leader: Dr. Angela Lin

2015, University of Sheffield, Social Science Faculty

The aim of this project was to investigate the emerging research and business phenomenon of the Internet of Things in particular to explore its applications in ecommerce. Business ecosystem and platform business model were the underpinning concepts applied in the project.

From Marketplace to Marketspace

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Project leaders: Dr Angela Lin and Dr. Jonathan Foster

2015, University of Sheffield Knowledge Transfer

The aims of the project were (a) To raise awareness among market traders of the business opportunities offered by ecommerce, and (b) To enable market traders to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to trade online.

In order to demonstrate the business potential of ecommerce, UG students studying on the department’s Information Management in the Digital Economy module worked alongside market traders; interviewing traders, understanding their business context, defining a marketspace opportunity, trialling the use of various Internet business tools and developing an online presence that would help traders to market their business online and to enlarge their current customer base.

The main benefit of the project to market traders was to raise their awareness of the business potential of the Internet. The main benefit accruing to the university is the project’s contribution to undergraduate learning in the areas of information management and e-business.

The project also enabled students to see the relevance and timeliness of one of the department’s undergraduate modules and the content of its curriculum to current trends in the marketplace. The project has highlighted a continuing divide in the digital economy between those businesses that have the capability and know-how to exploit the Internet for enterprise and those who do not.

Evaluation of Practice-Based Models of Co-production and Collaboration in the Creative Industries

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Project leader: Dr. Angela Lin

2008-2009 EPSRC Digital Economy fund from University of Nottingham

This project investigated co-production and collaboration in creating value in the gaming industry in the UK.

Innovation in M-Commerce: Go China!

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Dr Angela Lin and Dr. Jonathan Foster

2004. HEIF Knowledge Exchange

This project investigated and developed new business models and applications for M-commerce. The outputs of the projects included evaluations of current applications and business models for M-commerce; and a business proposal for an M-commerce application in tourism.

Managing Innovation in the Digital Economy

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Dr Angela Lin and Dr. Jonathan Foster

2002-2003, White Rose Centre for Enterprise

This project developed materials which highlighted the organisational and managerial challenged faced by businesses in the digital economy with an aim to develop students’ enterprise skills for the digital economy.

Southern Theories for ICT4D Studies: A Systematic Literature Review

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Principal Investigator: Dr Efpraxia Zamani
Co-Investigator: Dr Andrea Jimenez
Research Assistant: Dr Sukaina Ehdeed
April-September 2019

ICT4D has become an increasing relevant field of research and practice, with a diverse set of theories, concepts and empirical foci. Whilst most of the empirical research has been taking place in the global South, the vast majority of theories used have been developed in the global North.

The aim of this pilot study is to identify Southern theories that have been used within the discipline of Information Systems, in order to identify viewpoints about development and the role ICTs can play towards development, within the Global South. The outcome of the study will help mobilise the discussion on Southern development discourse in relation to the Information Systems literature.

Support network for informal caregivers of people living with HIV in Malawi

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Principal Investigator: Dr Efpraxia Zamani
Co-Investigator: Dr Laura Sbaffi
Partners: Dr. Tiwonge Manda - Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Dr. Khumbo Kalua - Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach, Malawi Health Equity Network, Kossam Jomo Munthali - Foundation for Community Support Services, Dr. Reuben Ndinci - Baobab Health Trust
May 2019-April 2020

Informal caregivers are people without training or education in healthcare who have taken up caring responsibilities for a family member, and whose role, still too often in less developed countries, is not supported nor recognised by society, government initiatives and the healthcare system.

The aim of this project is to bring together caregivers, NGOs, local authorities and academics to explore opportunities for future collaborations on the use of ICTs for creating and maintaining a support community for informal caregivers of people living with HIV in Malawi.

Network building proposal: Critical views on open scholarship - an African perspective

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PI: Pamela Abbott/ CO-I: Andrew Cox

Feb 2019-Jul 2019

Funding source: Information School Seed Corn Funding

The aim of the project was to explore research agendas around decolonising open scholarship in Africa, together with potential project partners identified as key scholarly thinkers, researchers and practitioners engaging in this topic.  It was accomplished through the organisation and hosting of a full day scholarly workshop in the Information School with invited keynote speakers in three critical areas: scholarly communications and open access in global contexts including the global South; alternative views on the practice of open science in Africa; research data management practices in Africa.  The event was further strengthened by the involvement of a panel of library and information specialists with experience with the Rwanda research context.

Ongoing outputs from this project include the blog of the event, further networking contacts with attendees (e.g. African Hospital Libraries) and inputs into publications related to the Rwandan research context.

Developing human capacity through Open Scholarship in Rwanda

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PI: Pamela Abbott/ CO-I: Andrew Cox

Feb 2019-Aug 2019

Funding source: UKRI - GCRF (UoS QR funding)

The aim of this project was to explore the potential for Open Scholarship to strengthen human capacity for development in Rwanda, given the country's aspiration to move to a knowledge-based economy. 

Participatory methods of investigation were used within a week-long co-development workshop bringing together the information sciences expertise of the Information school, together with South African partner ITOCA, an NGO working in the information specialist area in Africa and senior librarians within higher education in Rwanda.

The main outputs of the project were the development of a collaborative research network between the Information School, ITOCA and the Rwandan librarian community with which we have already engaged in competitive project proposals and related practitioner and research papers.

Launch of Pilot Survey on Evolving Librarian Roles in West & Central African HEI Librarian Community

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PI: Pamela Abbott

May 2017-Jul 2017

Funding source: Information School Seed Corn Funding

The aim of this project was to launch a pilot survey to identify key institutional weaknesses in the support for the evolving role of HE librarians in the West and Central African University community.  The survey output was used as input into an AHRC grant proposal which subsequently became the basis for AfricaConnect 2 funding to launch with partner WACREN (West and Central African Research and Education Networks), a pan-African 3-region survey of similar issues related to open access repository development and management.  The objectives of the pilot survey were to:

Understand the evolving role of the librarian in contemporary African higher education settings vis-à-vis digital resources. Understand how institutions within the African higher education sector support or constrain the roles of librarians, especially regarding management of digital resources. Elicit the NREN service requirements that librarians need to support their roles Gather demographic information that would be useful in categorizing the librarian communities of practice so as to understand the evolving field better.

Group members

Click on any of the names to see more information and contact details.

Academic staff

Dr Pamela Abbott (Head of Group)
Tel: 0114 2222669
Room 225

I am interested in research concerning the socio-economic and organizational consequences of the global phenomenon of IT outsourcing and offshoring, specifically, and more generally the area of information systems and globalisation.

I am also establishing an area of expertise in research on information and communication technologies (ICTs) and development, which has seen me research ICT-related issues (such as IS failure) in developing country contexts.

See Pamela's full staff profile

Dr Caitlin Bentley

My research investigates how AI-enabled cyber-physical systems can be safely, ethically, and sustainably scaled. Specifically, how these systems can be designed, managed and regulated inclusively and governed democratically. I also focus on ICTs in developing contexts as well as the impacts of AI-enabled cyber-physical systems on marginalised actors. 

My approach draws on critical social theory, cybernetics and systems theory as well as multi-disciplinary mash-ups, as I tend to work collaboratively with others from diverse fields and cultures. I favour participatory and action research, with a view to making a positive impact in the world. 

See Caitlin's full staff profile

Dr Salihu Dasuki
Tel: 0114 2222656
Room 234

My principal research interests lies in the social, political and economic implications of information systems use, implementation and development in developing countries.

I am currently investigating the impact of ICT interventions on human development using Sen’s capability approach within the Nigeria context.

See Salihu's full staff profile

Dr Andrea Jimenez
Tel: 0114 2222684
Room 323a

My research evolves around the role of innovation in socioeconomic development.

I explore this from two distinct dimensions: the internal processes within organisations, by looking at absorptive capacity, knowledge sharing and collaboration; and the wider geopolitical dimension around innovation discourses embedded in the international development sector. I'm interested in IS from a perspective of ICT4D.

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Dr Angela Lin
Tel: 0114 2222634
Room 221

My principal research interests are in the areas of information systems implementation management, information systems and digital transformation, e-commerce, and the business applications of the Internet of Things.

I have published papers and supervised student projects on the topics of: information systems implementation management, information systems adoption and post adoption management, information systems project risk management, sustainable information systems strategy, e-government infrastructure, online consumer behaviours (e.g. decision making and information search).

I am also establishing research interest in the area of information systems use and adoption in non-profit environment and ICTs and women empowerment.

See Angela's full staff profile

Dr Sara Vannini

My research interests are at the intersection of critical studies of technology and society, social change, and information ethics. I focus on social appropriation and embodied experiences of technologies by different social groups, information privacy in the context of migration, the role of public access to information in mis/disinformation, and participatory and visual methodologies of inquiry.

Dr Efpraxia Zamani
Tel: 0114 2226331
Room 209a

My broad research interests relate to the organizational and social aspects of information systems. I am particularly interested in post-adoption user behaviour, enterprise information systems and ICT4D.

For my PhD, I have looked into user sensemaking with portable IT artefacts, such as tablets. More specifically, I have looked into episodes of disillusionment, and how users develop their own accommodating practices for the purposes of appropriating an IT artefact.

My research work has been presented in numerous conferences and has been published in journals such as the Journal of Information Technology, Government Information Quarterly and the International Journal of Electronic Commerce.

See Efpraxia's full staff profile

PhD researchers

Safiah B Alharbi

My research's overall aim is to investigate how digital solutions are changing the practice of organisational onboarding.

Norah Alotaibi

I am researching the efficiency and quality of e-government services in the Saudi Ministries.

Adelina Basholli

I am focused on proposing a unique, flexible and cost-effective wireless sensor-based architecture for enhancing national health services in developing regions, specifically the case of Kosovo.

See Adelina's full staff profile

Hui Bao

My research’s overall aim is to explore the strategies of digital transformation of smart classrooms in Chinese universities from the perspective of change management.

Xuanning Chen

I am researching information behaviours.

Elijah Chirwa

My research area is in technology innovation and diffusion with focus on fintechs (financial technologies) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

See Elijah's full profile

Linhao Fang

I am focusing on the challenges in the introduction of digital technologies in Chinese SOEs - the potential risk of the digital archive.

See Linhao's full profile

Lily Sepulveda Garcia

I am studying the perceptions and lived experiences of informal caregivers who use Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies to monitor a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementias.

See Lily's full profile

Jing Wang

I am researching digital collaboration across knowledge boundaries with focusing on the BIM-enabled construction project. 

Jun Zhang

I am researching the deployment of an integrated smart transportation system within the context of China

Yuzhen Zhu

Understanding the Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Shaping of Interorganizational Knowledge Exchange Practice: Proposing an ICT-based Generic Knowledge Management Framework for the European Living Lab Ecosystem

See Yuzhen's full profile

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