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William Allen

William Allen

(BA Social Policy and Economics, Alma College; MPhil Development Studies, Oxford; DPhil Politics, Oxford)

Fellow by Examination in Political and Development Studies, Magdalen College, Oxford; Researcher, Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity at the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society, COMPAS, Oxford
Magdalen College

William Allen completed his BA in Social Policy and Economics at Alma College (USA), and an MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Oxford as a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholar. After this, he worked for The Migration Observatory at Oxford as a Research Officer, eventually leading its analysis of British media coverage about migration as well as several projects on research communication practice. He was also Co-Investigator on the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project ‘Seeing Data: Are Good Big Data Visualisations Possible?’ from 2013-15. Then, supported by an Advanced Quantitative Methods studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council, he read for the DPhil in Politics at the University of Oxford. He was a Mann Senior Scholar at Hertford College, Oxford before joining Magdalen as a Fellow by Examination in 2018.

Research Interests

William’s research interests involve political communication and public attitudes, particularly in relation to migration and the politics of data. He has four main areas of research: how media impact what people think about immigration and immigrants; how people experience mobility in contexts of large-scale data collection; how intermediaries, or organisations that link researchers with the public, develop and share their messages—often through means like data visualisations; and developing better theories of knowledge exchange between researchers and users including policymakers and practitioners in civil society.

Media Refugees and migration


Journal Articles

Allen, William and Scott Blinder (2018). Media Independence Through Routine Press-State Relations: Immigration and Government Statistics in the British PressThe International Journal of Press/Politics, 23(2): 202-226

Allen, William (2018). Visual Brokerage: Communicating Data and Research Through VisualisationPublic Understanding of Science. DOI: 10.1177/0963662518756853

Allen, William, Bridget Anderson, Nicholas Van Hear, Madeleine Sumption, Franck Düvell, Jennifer Hough, Lena Rose, Rachel Humphris, and Sarah Walker (2018). Who Counts in Crises? The New Geopolitics of International Migration and Refugee Governance.Geopolitics, 23(1): 217-243

Allen, William (2017).Making Corpus Data Visible: Visualising Text With Research IntermediariesCorpora, 12(3): 459-482

Allen, William (2017).Factors that Impact How Civil Society Intermediaries Perceive EvidenceEvidence & Policy, 13(2): 183-200 [Winner of the 2016 Carol Weiss Prize, Best Early-Career Paper,Evidence & Policy]

Kennedy, Helen, Rosemary Lucy Hill, William Allen, and Andy Kirk (2016)Engaging with (Big) Data Visualizations: Factors That Affect Engagement and Resulting New Definitions of EffectivenessFirst Monday, 21(11), November

Kennedy, Helen, Rosemary Lucy Hill, Giorgia Aiello, and William Allen (2016).The Work That Visualisation Conventions DoInformation, Communication & Society, 19(6): 715-735

Blinder, Scott and William Allen (2016). Constructing Immigrants: Portrayals of Migrant Groups in British National Newspapers, 2010-2012.International Migration Review, 50(1): 3-40

Allen, William (2015).‘We Are Sitting on a Time Bomb’: A Multiperspectival Approach to Inter-National Development at an East African BorderGeopolitics, 20(2): 381-403

Allen, William (2013).‘I am From Busia!’: Everyday Trading and Health Service Provision at the Kenya-Uganda Border as Place-Making ActivitiesJournal of Borderlands Studies, 28(3): 291-306.


Chapters in Edited Volumes

Allen, William, Scott Blinder, and Robert McNeil (Forthcoming). ‘Informing Realities: Research, Public Opinion, and Media Reports on Migration’, in J. Palme, M. Ruhs, and K. Tamas (eds), Bridging the Gaps: Linking Research to Public Debates and Policymaking on Migration and Integration, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kennedy, Helen, William Allen, Martin Engebretsen, Rosemary Lucy Hill, Andy Kirk, and Wibke Weber (Forthcoming). ‘Data Visualisations: Newsroom Trends and Everyday Engagements’, in J. Gray and L. Bounegru (eds), The Data Journalism Handbook 2: Towards a Critical Data Practice, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press

Allen, William (2020). ‘Mobility, Media, and Data Politics’, in K. Smets, K. Leurs, M. Georgiou, S. Witteborn, and R. Gajjala (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Media and Migration, London: SAGE, pp. 180-91

Kennedy, Helen and William Allen (2017). ‘Data Visualisation as an Emerging Tool for Online Research’, in N.G. Fielding, R.M. Lee and G. Blank (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods, 2ndedition, London: SAGE.Allen, William, Scott Blinder, and Robert McNeil (2017). ‘Media Reporting on Migrants and Migration’, in M. Ruhs and M. McAuliffe (eds), World Migration Report 2018: Making Sense of Migration and Mobility in an Increasingly Inter-Connected World, Geneva: International Organization for Migration.