Research course


Open University · The Open University Business School

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus 120 credits in research methods training or, ideally, a masters degree in Research Methods (MRes), which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Months of entry

October, March

Course content

Research into information, surveillance and privacy encompasses a range of work covering individual responses to privacy and data protection, to the organisational and governmental dynamics of surveillance practices, as well as theoretical and methodological developments in the study of these phenomena. Surveillance research in the Open University Business School focuses on surveillance as it is co-constituted by organisations, employees and consumers.

Principal research themes currently include the within-firm dynamics of data protection and privacy, the rise of Big Data, the role of the private sector in government surveillance regimes, consumer surveillance, surveillance and the embodied subject and surveillance, democracy and resilience. There are also wider interests in privacy-enhancing technologies, surveillance and the census, securitisation, and the histories of CCTV and privacy.

The Open University Business School’s research in information, surveillance and privacy is conducted by the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP), led by Professor Kirstie Ball who has an international reputation for research in these fields. The Centre is a collaborative partnership with the University of Stirling and the University of Edinburgh. CRISP is also a home for the Scottish Privacy Forum, based at Stirling.

Department specialisms

Public-private blurring in the surveillance society Consumer reactions to surveillance Surveillance and subjectivity New developments in employee surveillance Brandscapes and ubiquitous surveillance Surveillance theory Privacy tradeoffs.

Fees and funding

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
15 months


part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Debby Hing
+44 (0)1908 655272