Dr Stefanie Hills

Lecturer in Digital Media

Communications, Media and Culture Stirling

Dr Stefanie Hills

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About me

About me

I am a Computational Sociolinguist with a particular interest in Digital Media Discourse and Argumentation and related applications of Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence. I joined the University of Stirling’s Division of Communications, Media and Culture as Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Digital Media in October 2022. Prior to this I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield’s School of English, where I contributed to the highly interdisciplinary Many Happy Returns project and Postdoctoral Research Associate in 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. In 2022 I was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Between 2013 and 2022 I was an Associate Lecturer in Research Methods at the University of Northampton. For the calendar year 2024, I was awarded a James Buchanan Fellowship in political economy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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, where I have worked on a number of market-leading products for several high-profile end-clients.


My work is, broadly speaking, concerned with the intersection between digital media discourse and its societal and democratic implications. It revolves around four focal points:

1) Persuasion, influence, and argumentation with a particular focus on the impact of fallacious reasoning and cognitive bias.

2) Harmful discourse and marginalisation.

3) Information warfare and the spread of misinformation and disinformation, with a particular focus on effective counter-narratives and inoculation.

4) Digital Media and the individual communicator - in particular with regards to the notion of credibility in political, social, and scientific activism.

I am a Computational Sociolinguist interested in Digital Media, Political Communication, and Natural Language Processing. I am currently a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Digital Media in the Division of Communications, Media and Culture at the University of Stirling. During my postdoc at University of Sheffield, I was 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 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.

I am a mixed-method pragmatist with a methodological preference for corpus and computationally assisted discourse analysis and am particularly passionate about interdisciplinary research with real-world applications. I am always open to considering research collaborations. Please feel free to reach out.