Social Sciences


Dr Paula Saukko PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA MSc, University of Tampere, Finland.

Photo of Dr Paula Saukko

Reader in Social Science and Medicine

My research focuses on health, qualitative methods, new medical technologies and digital media. My approach to studying these phenomena draws from science and technology studies (STS), medical sociology and cultural studies and is located between the disciplines of communication and sociology. I have conducted research on genetic testing for common, complex conditions, primary prevention of heart disease, commercial, online genetic tests and anorexia; at the moment I am interested in various health wearables for self-monitoring of lifestyle. My research has been funded by the ESRC, Department of Health and Wellcome Trust.

I currently supervise PhD students working on self-monitoring of “sitting time” (Weedon) and diet (Didziokaite), physically disabled teenagers’ use of the Internet (Kaur), consumption of substances for physical and cognitive enhancement among students (Lukas Stepanek), experiences of health in a deprived community (Scott-Arthur) and Malaysian Islamic cinema (Al-Hani). I welcome applications from good students in the areas of health and/or digital media. I am Director for Postgraduate Research in the Department.

Sociology of Health and Illness, Qualitative Methodology, New Media, Science and Technology Studies


  • SSB007 Advanced Research Methods
  • SSC022 The Body, Health and the Digital


  • SSP391 Digital Cultures


  • Reed, L. and Saukko, P. (eds.) (2010). Governing the Female Body: Gender, Health, and Networks of Power. Albany, NY: State University of New York (SUNY) Press. Online here
  • Saukko, P. (2008). The Anorexic Self: A Personal, Political Analysis of a Diagnostic Discourse.  Albany, NY: State University of New York (SUNY) Press. Online here

Refereed Articles

  • Didžiokaitė, G, Saukko, PM, Greiffenhagen, C (2017) The mundane experience of everyday calorie trackers: Beyond the metaphor of Quantified SelfNew Media and Society. iFirst:
  • Saukko, P (2013) State of play in direct-to-consumer genetic testing for lifestyle-related diseases: market, marketing content, user experiences and regulation.Proc Nutr Soc, 72(1), pp.53-60.
  • Qureshi, N., Armstrong, S., Dhiman, P., Saukko, P, Middlemass, J., Evans, PH, Kai, J. (2012). Effect of adding systematic family history enquiry to cardiovascular disease risk assessment in primary care: matched-pair cluster randomized controlled trial, Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(4), 253-62. Online here.
  • Saukko, P. Farrimond, H., Evans, P. & Qureshi, N. (2012). Beyond beliefs: Risk assessment technologies shaping patient experiences of heart disease prevention, Sociology of Health and Illness, 34, 4, 560-75. Online here
  • Saukko, P., Reed, M., Britten, N. & Hogarth, S. (2010) Negotiating the boundary between medicine and consumer culture: Online marketing of nutrigenetic tests, Social Science & Medicine, 70, 5, 744-753. Online here
  • Farrimond, H., Saukko, P., Qureshi, N. & Evans, P. (2010). Making sense of being at ‘high risk’ of coronary heart disease within primary prevention, Psychology & Health, 25, 3, 289-304.
  • Saukko, P. (2009). Genetic risk online and offline: Two ways of being susceptible to blood clots, Health, Risk & Society, 11, 1, 1-16.    
  • Hall, R., Saukko, P., Evans, P., Qureshi, N. & Humphries, S. (2007). Assessing family history of heart disease in primary care consultations: A qualitative study, Family Practice, 24, 5, 435-442.
  • Saukko, P., Ellard, S, Richards, S, Shepherd, M. & Campbell, J. (2007). Patients’ understanding of genetic susceptibility testing in mainstream medicine: A qualitative study on thrombohilia, BMC Health Services Research, 7: 82. Online here
  • Saukko, P., Richards, S., Shepherd, M. & Campbell, J. (2006). Are genetic tests exceptional? Lessons from a qualitative study on thrombophilia, Social Science & Medicine, 63, 7, 1947-1959. Online here