Richard Brown is a doctoral researcher at Northumbria University in Newcastle investigating perceptions of risk and socioeconomic inequalities in health. His PhD is supervised by Dr Gillian Pepper and Dr Liz Sillence. Richard also works as a researcher within the Psychology department at Northumbria exploring a range of behavioural health issues using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
After studying philosophy at the University of Warwick, Richard worked as a corporate solicitor in the North East of England. He then enjoyed several years as an English teacher in Hue, Vietnam and Aranda de Duero, Spain before returning to the UK to pursue a career in academia. Richard started his PhD in January 2021 and hopes to continue carrying out health research upon completion.
Richard’s research in association with Turing will aim to analyse data associated with online health misinformation. Little attention has been given to misinformation concerning non-communicable diseases, such as cancers and cardiovascular disease, with most misinformation research centring around vaccines and the spread of COVID-19. For health communicators, the ability to ‘cut through the noise’ is fundamental to providing effective health messaging. Applying a range of data science methods to study the message characteristics that amplify content retransmission on social media is vital for understanding its proliferation online. Therefore, Richard’s research will aim to use a range of natural language processing techniques to investigate misinformation relevant to the modifiable behavioural health risk factors that are driving the rising prevalence of certain lifestyle diseases.