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Living with data: knowledge, experiences and perceptions of data practices

Researchers: Professor Helen Kennedy | Dr Jo Bates ...

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

The collection and use of digital data is changing people’s lives, positively and negatively. Concerns about data misuse has led to appeals for increased data governance from both government and independent organisations such as the Ada Lovelace Institute.

Understanding public views and how data affects people is at the heart of these initiatives, however, knowledge about such matters remains limited. Existing surveys and polls focus on single issues and produce only snapshots of attitudes or perceptions. In short, understanding lacks a robust evidence base.

The Living with Data project aims to fill this gap through mixed methods research, mapping ‘data journeys’ through public bodies, a large-scale survey, focus groups, and interviews. Researchers will look at everyday, public sector data practices related to healthcare, accessing public services, and media use.

By conducting a methodologically rigorous inquiry, this project aims to impact on policy to ensure that data works ‘for people and society’ and is ultimately ‘a force for good’.


  • Professor Helen Kennedy
    University of Sheffield
  • Dr Jo Bates
    University of Sheffield
  • Dr Mark Taylor
    University of Sheffield
  • Dr Susan Oman
    University of Sheffield
  • Itzelle Medina-Perea
    University of Sheffield
  • Lulu Pinney
    University of Sheffield

  • Catherine Dennison
    Programme Head, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.