Asha Titus

Asha Titus

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Connect with me

Key Expertise
Data Ethics, Social policy, poverty

About me

Prior to coming to the LSE, Asha worked in various research-intensive roles in government within digital innovation policy, public affairs and social services. Most recently she worked as the Lead Researcher and Knowledge Manager for the Australian statutory body ACIAR coordinating a work programme that evaluated how mobile acquired data integrates into their Monitoring and Evaluation framework. Working at the intersection of technology and policy she has designed impact assessments of public administration instruments and conducted analytical work that generates evidence based recommendations. She is interested in data ethics and the use of novel metrics to measure complex vulnerability, respond to ‘at-risk’ behaviour and evaluate progress against predefined indicators. As part of large scale multi-stakeholder comparative projects, she has conducted systematic reviews, data collation, archiving and the harmonisation of cross sectional datasets on disability, ageing and assisted living. In a research capacity, she contributed to several data driven projects on Women’s Economic Empowerment, food security, labour mobility and ICT4D for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Before moving into the social policy and wellbeing sector she worked within energy policy analysing the welfare impacts of natural resource management at the (Australian) state government level. During the course of this role, she developed social media datasets using innovative data science and social network analysis (SNA) methods to extract insights that help formulate policy options for national and local leaders. She has also conducted diagnostic work that informs the country programming strategies of the Australian Official Development Assistance programme and those of regional/multilateral organisations such as CARE International, Red Cross Australia, the World Bank, WHO and UNICEF. In pursuing a PhD in Data, Networks and Society she brings this practice based sensibility to bear on policy questions about how welfare systems embed their duty of care, the precautionary principle, and a 'do no harm' ethos into complex data infrastructures. She has an interdisciplinary background and holds an M Phil in Sociology from the University of Oxford (2010) and a research masters in International, Political and Strategic Studies from the Australian National University.

Research topic

Datafication of Government: Mapping Data-driven practices in Public Sector Service Delivery

Supervised by Nick Couldry and Damian Tambini

This doctoral project investigates the use of data driven practices in social service delivery at various levels of government. Using case study methods it seeks to uncover contextual and organisational factors that lead to digital innovations being embedded and scaled up. I am interested in the manner in which data analytics and decision making based on advanced modelling interacts with the organisational culture and existing working practices of social care teams within government. 

This research has the potential to provide clarity around vexing contemporary issues like the use of novel forms of evidence to define social risks in safeguarding situations. Situated at the intersection of classification theory and Critical Data Studies, it will address topical questions about how to optimise machine learning and other algorithmic decision support systems for positive social welfare outcomes. Outputs from the project will include actionable policy recommendations. In addition to contributing to regulation and governance debates, it will advance the ‘big data in behavioural economics’ literature (Yeung and Lodge 2019) and assess current ethical frameworks for the governance of decision support systems (Leslie, Holmes, Hitrova, and Ott 2020).

Expertise Details

Data Ethics; Social policy; poverty; Care policy; Vulnerability; Datafication; Welfare; Conditionality; Digital Era Government; Critical Data Studies; ICTD; m4D; Child maintenance; Predictive analytics; SNA


Books, journal articles and refereed conference papers

Eves, R. and Titus, A (2020), Women’s economic empowerment among coffee smallholders in Papua New Guinea. Department of Pacific Affairs Research Paper. Canberra, ACT: Dept. of Pacific Affairs, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University

Titus, A (2017), ‘MAD meets culture’ at Mobile Acquired Data (MAD) showcase. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Canberra

Titus, A (2016), Invited Panellist on ‘Digital Media and Collective Action’ at international symposium – Digital Publics in Asia Pacific, Creative Arts Faculty, Queensland University of Technology

Titus, A (2015), ‘Theorising digitally mediated collective action at the networked peripheries: Emerging dynamics and the composition of online mobilisations against corruption in PNG’, ICTs in Melanesia: Building a Research Community, Crawford School of Public Policy, Canberra: The Australian National University.

Titus, A. & Kuch, D. (2014), ‘Emerging Dimensions of Networked Energy Citizenship: the case of Coal Seam Gas mobilization in Australia’, Communication, Politics & Culture, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 35-59,ISSN: 2200-6796

Titus, A. & Kuch, D. (2012), Online advocacy networks, issue mobilisations and the Coal Seam Gas controversy, presented to Social Media Network Analysis session at RC33, International Sociological Association, 8th International Social Science Methodology Conference

Titus, A. (2012). ‘Understanding Online Climate Publics: mobilising and contesting energy futures’. Invited Paper presented to Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Summit

Kuch, D, Titus, A and Webb, S. A. (2012), ‘Coal Innovation in Action: Using Actor Network Theory to study Carbon Capture and Storage’, 3rd International Energy Agency Greenhouse gas R and D programme (IEAGHG) Social Research Network Conference, 12 April.

Titus, A. & Kuch, D. (2012). ‘Using Social Media to understand issue mobilizations, protest and communication.’ Paper presented to the EIDOS Sustainable Development in Resource Intensive Regions summit, Gladstone, Queensland, 27 June.

Titus, A. and Webb, S. A. (2011), ‘Public Perceptions and Social Attitude Formation on Carbon Capture and Storage: A Network-based Approach’, Environment and Technology section, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 20-23 August

Titus, A. (2011), ‘Global Production Networks and the International Division of Labour: Skill in the Software Outsourcing Industry’, Economic Sociology of Work session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 20-23 August

Research reports and policy briefs

Roxburgh, C., Gregory, A., Hall, J., Higgins, S. Titus, A., McGill, D, Hetherington, J., Ross, C (2018), At-Scale Evaluation of Digital Data Collection Apps (DDCAs) in ACIAR projects: Mobile Acquired Data phase 2 (MAD 2), final research report to ACIAR

Eves, R. and Titus, A (2017), Coffee is Men’s Business (Part 2). SSGM In Brief 2017/12. Canberra: The Australian National University.

Eves, R. and Titus, A (2017), Coffee is Men’s Business (Part 1). SSGM In Brief 2017/11. Canberra: The Australian National University.

Eves, R. and Titus, A (2017), Gender Challenges to Financial Inclusion in Papua New Guinea. Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) Discussion Paper 2017/8 Canberra: The Australian National University.

Duus, S., Titus, A. Si, W., Jensen, M. (2015), ‘Realising Democracy Amid Communicative Plenty: A Deliberative Systems Approach’, Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Project Report No.1. Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra. 

Kuch, D, Titus, A, Ladwig, J, and Webb, S. A., Kennedy, D (2013), ‘Managing Low Emissions Coal Technologies project risk: The role of public awareness’, final research report to Industry and Investment, New South Wales through the Coal Innovation NSW Fund