About the project

Quick facts

  • How’s My Feedback? is a feedback website for feedback websites.
  • Founded in October 2010
  • Developed with experts from business, government and civil society
  • Facilitated by Saïd Business School, Oxford University and Patient Opinion
  • Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

How’s My Feedback? is a feedback website for feedback websites that allows everyone to share their experience with online reviews, ratings and rankings. It is the product of an ongoing research and design experiment at Saïd Business School at Oxford University, which aims to explore a puzzling question: what is it to evaluate the evaluators?

On this page, you can learn more about:

Why feedback on feedback?

There is hardly anything these days that is not being evaluated on the web. Books, dishwashers, lawyers, teachers, health services, ex-boyfriends, haircuts, prostitutes and websites are just some examples targeted by novel review, rating and ranking schemes. Used in an increasing number of areas, these schemes facilitate public assessment by soliciting and aggregating feedback and distributing it as comments, ranks, scales and stories. While some have greeted this development as an innovative way of fostering transparency, accountability and public engagement, others have criticized the forced exposure and alleged lack of accuracy and legitimacy.

Online reviews, ratings, feedbackHow’s My Feedback? set out to tackle these issues in a collaborative design experiment: what does it take to evaluate the various types of review, rating and ranking schemes? How are we to judge the effectiveness of these schemes? What kinds of governance are implicated in their operation? What is it to evaluate the evaluators – and will this business ever end? Together with a group of key experts, including designers, managers, reviewers, policy-makers, consumer spokespeople, academics and users, we have been exploring idea of a website that allows users to publicly assess their experience with review and rating schemes – a feedback website for feedback websites.

This website presents a snapshot of this journey and the evolving prototype. If you would like to join or have a good idea, please do not hesitate to give us feedback or get in touch.

The people involved

How’s My Feedback? stands on the shoulders of many giants. Besides the expert group, who laid the foundations in two initial workshops, many others have helped along the way. A project team at Saïd Business School and Patient Opinion facilitated the process.

The Expert Group

The Project Team

Malte ZiewitzMalte Ziewitz (Principal Investigator) is a DPhil Candidate at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Oxford University. Broadly based in science & technology studies and public policy, his research revolves around new and non-obvious modes of governance in digitally networked environments—the dynamics at work, the values at stake, the design options at hand. He has worked on a number of research teams at Harvard, Oxford, St. Gallen, Hamburg and the OECD. In his doctoral project, he explores the practical politics of web-based review and rating schemes as a techno-scientific solution to public problems in healthcare, web search and academic assessment.

Steve WoolgarSteve Woolgar (Co-investigator) is Professor of Marketing and Head of Science and Technology Studies at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Saïd Business School. Before moving to Oxford in 2000, he was Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of CRICT (Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture and Technology) at Brunel University. From 1997-2002 he was Director of the ESRC Programme Virtual Society? – the social science of electronic technologies a £3½ m venture comprising 22 research projects throughout the UK. In 2008 he was named winner of the J. D. Bernal Prize. Steve has published widely in science and technology studies, social problems and social theory. He has served, among other things, as an adviser to various European and UK governments and is a member of Council of Which?.

Chris Sugden Chris Sugden (Design & Development) is a DPhil Candidate at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Saïd Business School. His research focuses on the intersection between technoscience, bureaucracy and the law, specifically regarding practices concerning determinations of novelty within intellectual property regimes. Chris’ earlier degrees were also taken at the University of Oxford: an MSc in Management Research and a BA Joint Honours in Mathematics and Philosophy. In his spare time, Chris enjoys helping to create curiously reflexive ratings websites.

James MunroJames Munro (Project Partner) is Director of Research and Informatics at Patient Opinion. He worries endlessly about data models, site usability and uptime, and carries a notebook listing new features to add to the website. Some of these will actually appear. James has a background in clinical medicine, public health and health services research, and recently stepped down from a 20 year stint editing the independent health policy magazine healthmatters. He was lured away from a promising academic research career at Sheffield University by the bright lights of Web 2.0, and the emerging possibilities for new forms of engagement by citizens in their public services – especially the NHS, which we all want to be as good as it could be.

Esther VicenteEsther Vicente is an Administrative Assistant at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Saïd Business School. She is usually busy organising events and conferences or handling complex forms, grant applications and reimbursement claims. At How’s my feedback?, Esther is the first point of contact for all organisational matters. Esther has a degree in English Philology and taught English to diverse range of adult students – and sometimes even to her own project team.

Project timeline

The project was structured around a series of events, inclduing two expert workshops and a one-day conference.

Expert workshop 1 — London, 31 March 2011

The goal of the first expert workshop was to introduce the project and explore the different perspectives on online reviews and ratings the expert group brings to the table. After an introductory talk by Malte Ziewitz, three members of the expert group had volunteered to kick the group off by sharing their experience with web-based reveiew and rating schemes in the private sector, in government and as a user. The workshop concluded with group discussions and presentations on what constitutes a ‘good’ feedback scheme — and how we might recognize a ‘bad’ one.

Brief summary: First expert workshop: What is online feedback for?


  • Malte Ziewitz, University of Oxford: How’s my feedback? A simple model and six puzzles [presentation slides, blog summary]
  • Jason Smith, Client Partner, Bazaarvoice: Reviews and Social Commerce: Learnings from 1000 Brands
  • Peter Harris, Top-10 Amazon reviewer: My experience as a Top 10 Amazon Reviewer [presentation slides, kudos to Elaine for editing]
  • John Robinson, User-generated Content Lead, NHS Choices: Introducing patient feedback on NHS Choices: the challenges and what we’ve learned [presentation slides]

Participants: David Albury, Sarah Drinkwater, Peter Durward Harris, William Heath, Helen Hancox, Harry Metcalfe, James Munro, John Robinson, Stefan Schwarzkopf, Jason Smith, Marcus Taylor, Steve Woolgar, Malte Ziewitz

Expert workshop 2 — London, 11 April 2011

The second expert workshop focused on the prototype and what it might look like. We enaged in a number of rapid design exercises, including personas and user journeys. The recommendations from this workshop are the basis for prototype that will be built over the next couple of weeks.

Brief summary: Second expert workshop: Designing the prototype

Participants: Melanie Dowding, Peter Harris, Chris Emmins, Kirsten Guthrie, Helen Hancox, Dixon Jones, Noortje Marres, James Munro, Stefan Schwarzkopf, Paul Smith, Marcus Taylor, Jonathan Wolf, Malte Ziewitz

One-day conference

The one-day conference marks the grand finale of the project: we will discuss the emerging prototype and the project more generally. A small number of high-profile speakers will reflect on and review the work of the expert group as well as the challenges of web-based reviews and ratings. The conference will take place at Saïd Business School in Oxford on Tuesday, 28 June 2011, 9.00-17.30.

The event is free, but places are limited. Please register early and secure your place.


The project is funded by an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Small Grant (RES-192-22-0005) and support from the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Oxford University. It also depends on the hard work of countless volunteers and helping hands. Thank you all.


How′s My Feedback?
Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street

E-mail info@howsmyfeedback.org
Twitter @howsmyfeedback
Tel. +44 1865 600988