Professor Helen Margetts

 Professor Helen Margetts

Helen Margetts is the Director of the OII. She is a political scientist specialising in digital era government, politics and public policy, and data science and experimental methods.


Tel: +44 (0)1865 287207


Helen Margetts is the Director of the OII, and Professor of Society and the Internet. She is a political scientist specialising in digital era governance and politics, investigating political behaviour and political institutions in the age of the internet, social media and big data. She has published over a hundred books, articles and major research reports in this area, including Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (with Peter John, scott Hale and Taha Yasseri, 2015); Paradoxes of Modernization (with Perri 6 and Christopher Hood, 2010); Digital Era Governance (with Patrick Dunleavy, 2006); and The Tools of Government in the Digital Age (with Christopher Hood, 2007). In 2003 she and Patrick Dunleavy won the 'Political Scientists Making a Difference' award from the UK Political Studies Association, in part for a series of policy reports on Government on the Internet for the UK National Audit Office (1999, 2002 and 2007), and she continues working to maximise the policy impact of her research. She is editor-in-chief of the journal Policy and Internet. She is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Faculty Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science.

Professor Margetts joined the OII in 2004 from University College London where she was a Professor in Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy. She began her career as a computer programmer and systems analyst with Rank Xerox after receiving her BSc in mathematics from the University of Bristol. She returned to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1989, completing an MSc in Politics and Public Policy in 1990 and a PhD in Government in 1996. She worked as a researcher at LSE from 1991 to 1994 and a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London from 1994 to 1999.

Areas of Interest for Doctoral Supervision

Digital government, public management, public policy, collective action, political participation, democracy, political science, data science, experiments.

Research interests

Digital government, public management reform, tools of public policy, collective action, political participation, social science experiments, data science, alternative electoral systems, political extremism

Positions held at the OII

  • Director, October 2011 -
  • Professor of Society and the Internet, October 2004 -
  • Director of Graduate Studies, October 2009 - August 2010
  • Director of Research, October 2004 - September 2009


Current projects

  • Elections and the Internet

    April 2015 -

    This site collects elections research at the OII. We are interested in exploring the extent to which data from the social web can be used to predict interesting social and political phenomena, especially elections.

  • OXLab: Oxford eXperimental Laboratory

    October 2006 -

    Oxford eXperimental Laboratory is undertaking laboratory-based experiments (eg information-seeking tasks) on networked computers in two disciplines: Economics (interactive decision making) and Political Science (evaluating government information online).

  • OxIS: Oxford Internet Surveys

    January 2003 -

    Research on access, use and attitudes to the Internet in Britain based on biennial surveys covering (for example) digital and social inclusion and exclusion, social networking, safety and privacy concerns, Internet regulation, and behaviour.

  • Government on the Web

    October 1999 -

    Research dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of e-government and the impact of web-based technologies on government.

Past projects





  • Margetts, H., Hale, S. A., and Yasseri, T. (2014) Big Data and Collective Action. In M.Graham and W.H.Dutton (eds) Society and the Internet: How information and social networks are changing our lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Margetts, H. (2010) Modernization Dreams and Public Policy Reform. In: H.Margetts, P.6 and C.Hood (Eds) Paradoxes of Modernization. Unintended Consequences of Public Policy Reform. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 17-43.
  • Hood, C. and Margetts, H. (2010) Cyber-bureaucracy: If It Is So Central to Public Administration, Why Is It So Ghetto-ized? In J.Pierre and P.W.Ingraham (eds) Comparative Administrative Change and Reform: Lesson Learned. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-3659-3.
  • Margetts, H. (2010) The Internet and Political Science. In: C.Hay (ed.) New Directions in Political Science. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 65-87.
  • Margetts, H. (2010) Information Exchange between Government and Citizens. In: V.Uberoi, A.Coutts, I.Maclean and D.Halpern (eds) Options for Britain II: Cross Cutting Policy Issues - Changes and Challenges. London: Wiley, Blackwell.
  • Stoker, G. and Margetts, H. (2010) The Experimental Method: Prospects for Laboratory and Field Studies. In: D.Marsh and G.Stoker (eds) Theories and Methods in Political Science [3rd edn]. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Margetts, H. and Partington, M. (2010) Developments in E-government. In: M.Adler (ed.) Administrative Justice in Context. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 47-72.
  • Margetts, H. (2009) Public Management Change and e-government: the emergence of Digital Era Governance. In: A.Chadwick and P.Howard (eds) Handbook of Internet Politics. London: Routledge, pp. 114-128.
  • Margetts, H. (2003) Electronic Government: A Revolution in Public Administration. In: G.Peters and J.Pierre (eds) Handbook of Public Administration. Sage.

Conference papers



Working papers


Courses taught at the OII

DPhil students supervised at the OII

Current students

  • Ramtin (Rami) Amin

    Visibility in the Digital Age: Evaluating awareness and impact of disclosure on democratic participation in popularly initiated referendums

  • Dr Amanda Clarke

    Government-Citizen Relations on the Social Web: Canada and the United Kingdom, 2006-2013

  • Tom Nicholls

    Digital Era Local Government in England: Service reform and the Internet, 1997-2014

Completed students

  • Dr Max Loubser

    Organisational Mechanisms in Peer Productions: The Case of Wikipedia

  • Dr Roy Nyberg

    Examining Institutional Entrepreneurship at Early Moments: The Case of Mobile Health in England and Finland