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William Chivers

William Chivers

Lecturer in Social Science

School of Social Sciences

+44 29208 75846
Glamorgan Building, Room 1.02, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Lecturer in Social Science (Criminology) in the School of Social Sciences. I took up this role in 2021 and have taught on a variety of modules across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School, including criminology, sociology, social policy and research methods.

Prior to this I have been employed as a Research Associate based in the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research & Data (WISERD). Since 2015 I worked across the Civil Society research centre, exploring the relationship between engagement with social media and civil society. This included research into the use of social media by social movements and during instances of collective and industrial action. I led - and am still involved in - research on the platform economy, including an ethnographic study of cycle couriers in Cardiff and alternative forms of work and organisation in the form of platform cooperativism.

I have experienced in developing innovative methodologies using social media and digital research methods. This has included content and social network analysis of Twitter data using Gephi, COSMOS and NodeXL and mobile digital methods such as GPS mapping and photography.

Broadly, my research interests centre around digital society and the impact of new technologies on people and places. My PhD thesis explored the changing landscape of digital surveillance and resistance and developed theories of social control and nodal governance. I have a background in criminology and sociology and prior to taking up my position in WISERD, worked on ESRC/EPSRC-funded research investigating business-related cybercrime in the UK.

Teaching Social Network Analysis on Gephi













WISERD Civil Society

Trade union use of social media

Earlier on in WISERD Civil Society, I undertook research exploring the patterns and prevalence of social media use by trade unions in the UK. Data were collected relating to the use of Twitter by the largest trade unions (by membership): Unite, Unison, UCU, GMB and Usdaw. Twitonomy - an online tool for analysing Twitter usage - provided a detailed overview of how these trade unions were using Twitter; how frequently they tweeted, how they tended to use hashtags, the extent to which their behaviour generated interaction from others. NodeXL - a Microsft Excel plugin that provides functionality for collecting searchable social media data and carrying out social network analysis - allowed insight into the patterns of interaction and influence in the Twitter conversation around the Trade Union Bill that was progressing through Parliament in 2015. The findings from this project can be read in our 2017 paper for the Social Media and Society conference.

The 'McStrike'

In 2017 and 2018 my colleagues and I carried out a project examining the first ever strike by UK McDonald's workers, branded the 'McStrike'. Prior to the strike taking place on the 4th September 2017 we began collecting tweets in real time using the COSMOS Open Data Analytics software. Over a two-week period we collected approximately 94,000 tweets. Content analysis of these tweets was directed by an interest in the ways in which the strike action was framed and how support was mobilised. Social network analysis was conducted on a daily basis to explore the changes in network structure over time - before, during and after the strike. Some of the resulting network visualisations can be found in the image gallery on the right. Each of these illustrate patterns of retweeting, with larger clusters representing more retweets of a user.

Watch this space for our forthcoming papers based on this project. Our other write ups of progress from this project can be found under the 'Publications' tab: see our article for The Conversation and contributions to the WISERD blog.


In the 2022/23 I will be convening the Y2 Offending and Victimisation module, and co-convening Y2 Interviews and Focus Groups.

In 2021/22 academic year I (co)covened modules on Social and Public Policy (UG), Interviews and Focus Groups (UG) and Qualitative Methods (PD).

I have undertaken teaching in the School of Social Sciences and School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate level:

  • Digital Society: Theory, Method and Data
  • Principles of Research II
  • Foundations of Contemporary Criminology
  • Responses to Crime
  • Crime Control, Regulation and Policing
  • Contemporary Debates and Issues in Social Science
  • Dissertation



  • 2016: PhD (Social Sciences) Cardiff University, UK
  • 2011: MSc Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University, UK
  • 2008: BScEcon Criminology and Sociology (Joint Honours), Cardiff University, UK

As you will no doubt have concluded from my profile so far, I have spent the majority of the last 14 years studying, living and working in Cardiff. In moved here for my undergraduate degree in 2005 and, a three-month internship in London in 2013 aside, have lived here ever since. This is not only because Cardiff University and the School of Social Sciences are great places to study and work; Wales and the Welsh people are wonderful in equal measure. Assuming I continue to live in Cardiff, by 2024 I will have spent half of my life in England and half in Wales, at which point I will need to ask myself some testing questions about my loyalties to both the England and Wales national rugby teams.

Professional memberships

  • Open Rights Group
  • Surveillance Studies Network

Academic positions

  • 2015 - Present: Research Associate, WISERD
  • 2014-2015: Research Assistant, CEReS project
  • 2013: Social Research Intern, Sentencing Council for England and Wales
  • 2011-2014: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, SOCSI
  • 2010-2016: MSc/PhD, 1+3 ESRC-funded
  • 2008-2009: Research Assistant (PT), Wales Rural Observatory