Ylva Hård af Segerstad

Senior Lecturer

Dept. of Applied IT, Division of Learning, Communication &
Visiting address
Forskningsgången 6
41756 Göteborg
Postal address
BOX 100 Forskningsgången 6 Lindholmen
41296 Göteborg

About Ylva Hård af Segerstad

I am an Associate Professor in Applied Information Technology at the University of Gothenburg. I earned my PhD in general linguistics from the University of Gothenburg (2002). With a background research interest largely focusing on aspects of text-based interaction in digital communication technologies, my current research concerns qualitative inquiry of information and communication technologies in social contexts. I am especially interested in examining the role and use of mobile communication technologies and social media in our increasingly digitalized society.

This work is relevant for understanding how digital technologies intervene in and transform important aspects of every-day life, such as communicative patterns and relationships. Knowledge is renewed and changed and experiences are developed and negotiated in our technology-intensive society. These are issues that are just as important for schools and education, for business and the public sector as it is for the individual. A perspective in which technology issues are based on research in humanities and social sciences is necessary for our understanding of digitally mediated communication and the use of digital tools for private and professional activities.

Throughout my career, I have actively contributed to the international research community with my keen interest in developing methods and ethical issues related to responsible research conduct - which is particularly necessary for research involving networked media and the use of digital social data.

I first joined the Department of Applied Information Technology as Head of division for the division of Learning, Communication and IT in 2011. I received my docenture (habilitation, Associate Professor) from the IT Faculty at the University of Gothenburg in 2013. I currently lead two research projects, supervise three doctoral students (Anita Grigic Magnusson, Leona Johansson Bunting, and Christina Löfving) and teach at the International master's program in information technology and learning (ITLGU).

I am affiliated with The Center for Person Centered Care at the University of Gothenburg (GPCC) and my research has been conducted in connection with two of the priority research areas at the University of Gothenburg: The Learning and Media Technology Studio (LETStudio), the Center for Language Technology (CLT), as well as The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS). I am a long-time member the international Association of Internet Researchers and member of the association’s ethics committee.

My research has attracted the attention of both scholarly and public interest. I have frequently been invited to talk about my research in professional and popular venues, as well as in various media.

Current research projects

myCode – Cancer care on young people’s terms (2020-2022)

I am principal investigator for the GPCC work package of the Vinnova Challenge-Driven Innovation Project Step 2 myCode – Cancer care on young people’s terms (minKod -Cancervård på ungas villkor).

Together with young adult cancer survivors, the research team at Center for Person Centered Care at the University of Gothenburg (GPCC), including myself, Associate professor Stefan Nilsson (Institute of Health and Care Sciences, University of Gothenburg) and PhD Maria Olsson (Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg and Oncology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital) works closely with the support organization Ung Cancer (Young Cancer) and CareChain to develop digital tools for emotional support for young adult cancer survivors.

The project is a collaborative effort involving Innovationsplatsen, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Center for Person Centered Care at the University of Gothenburg (GPCC), Ung Cancer, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, CareChain AB, KPMG AB, Regionalt cancercentrum Väst (Västra Götalands läns landsting) and Regionalt cancercentrum Stockholm-Gotland (Stockholmsläns landsting Hälso- och sjukvårdsförvaltningen). The goal of the project is to take a holistic approach to young cancer patients’s needs, by increasing opportunities for social support and well-being, decreasing isolation in order to achieve a higher quality of life for young adult cancer survivors.

For this project, we have also been awarded funding from the Vinnova funded program Verification for Utilization (VFT) funding, from the Grants andInnovation Office (FIK) at the University of Gothenburg.

Read more about the project here.

Infrastructure and integrated tools for personalized learning of reading skill — iRead (2017-2020)

I am Principal investigator for the UGOT work package of the EU H2020 project Infrastructure and integrated tools for personalized learning of reading skill — iRead. iRead is a 4-year project that aims to develop personalized learning technologies to support reading skills. This software combines a diverse set of personalized learning applications and teaching tools for formative assessment. In the project we focus on primary school children across Europe, learning to read and learning English as a foreign language including children with dyslexia who are at risk of exclusion from their education. The project comprises 15 partners from across industry and education in 8 European countries. Our work is organized into three strands: innovation, design and evaluation, with different expected outcomes and stakeholders.

Read more about the project here.

Learning to Cope with the Death of a Child: Grieving Through Social Media (2013- )

I am Principal investigator for the small-scale project Learning to Cope with the Death of a Child: Grieving Through Social Media (Att lära sig leva med förlusten av ett barn: sorgearbete genom sociala medier). The project has received university internal funding on a number of occasions, and is still ongoing.

In this project, I have conducted studies since 2013 of how social media and peer support are used as vital resources in the process of learning to cope with grief and loss of a child. The studies have been conducted primarily in collaboration with Professor Dick Kasperowski (Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg) and in association with the grief support organization Vi som förlorat barn.

Online grief support communities on social media offer means for bereaved parents to continue bonds with their deceased children and may act as vital resources for coping with grief in ways that has not been available previously. As such, they propose new and important, but still under-researched, contexts for the formation of normative practices where trajectories of bereavement can be studied in detail. These potentials have hitherto not been recognized enough for its possibilities to influence health care, societal understandings and attitudes towards the loss of a child.

Read more about the project here.

Previous research projects

The DNA of Mobile Communication (2013-2015)

Together with professor Alexandra Weilenmann, I was awarded funding from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for the research project The DNA of Mobile Communication (Den mobila kommunikationens DNA) . The project was conducted in close co-operation with the priority research area Center for Language Technology (CLT). The aim of the project was two-fold: 1) to analyze the DNA of mobile communication, i.e. the interlinking of spoken and written communication, and 2) to develop a platform for studying mobile communication, including techniques for data collection and a corpus to be used in further research.

Analyzing the DNA of mobile communication means to study the whole chain of naturally occurring spoken and text-based mobile communication in context by analyzing the sequences of interaction and its components. Mainly for technical reasons, previous studies of mobile communication lack analysis of this complexity. Focus has been on one-sided communication and on either voice or text data. However, calls and texts cannot be regarded as isolated incidents but as parts of a continuous communication process. Empirical data was generated by using software specifically developed for the project, which allowed us to audio-record both sides of voice calls, logging of text messages, and meta-data, followed by interviews with research participants.

Read more about the project here.

Learning to Write in the Information Society (2003-2007)

Together with Professor Robin Cooper and Associate Professor Sylvana Sofkova Hashemi, I was awarded funding from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for the research project Learning to Write in the Information Society (Att lära sig skriva i IT-samhället) .

In the project, we studied written language by school children at intermediate and senior levels (aged 10 to 15) in different writing settings and the effects of the use of computers and other channels of communication. We collected both texts written in school (for example free narratives and reports) and texts written during leisure time (for example SMS and web diaries) and studied the whole writing process by observations in the classroom. We also interviewed all students about their writing habits and experiences of writing in school and during their leisure time.

Adaptation of Swedish Written Language to On-Line Communication (1998-2002)

During my PhD education, I was awarded awarded funding from HSFR (Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences) for the research project Adaptation of Swedish Written Language to On-Line Communication (Anpassningen av svenskans skriftspråk till on-line kommunikation). My Phd thesis was based on the studies I conducted within the project.