Ellie Harmon, PhD

Personal: ellieharmon.com Work: cs.pdx.edu/~harmon8
Consulting: encountering.tech linkedin.com/in/ellieharmon

Work Experience


Skills + Expertise

I am an expert ethnographer, writer, teacher, and data analyst. I also have a strong technical background in computing and design.

Research: Ethnography, Interviewing, Surveys, Diary Studies, Discourse Analysis

Communication: Writing, Visualization Design, Speaking, Teaching

Tools: OmniGraffle, MaxQDA, NVivo, R, HTML/SCSS, d3.js, Chart.js, python


  • Ethnography, Fieldwork, Participant Observation – 10+ years of experience conducting ethnographic research in a variety of contexts including corporate offices, scientific laboratories, and private homes
  • Qualitative and Semi-Structured Interviewing – 10+ years of experience conducting interviews with technology users (and technology resisters!) about how, why, and what it’s like to use (or refuse to use) different computing tools
  • Diary Studies – 2 years experience conducting diary study research to gather input for technology design, and better understand user experience
  • Discourse Analysis – 2 years experience analyzing advertisements and other media artifacts to examine the stories of technology use and nonuse that shape user experience
  • Surveys – 3 years of experience designing and conducting surveys in both paper-based and online media, with an emphasis on more qualitative survey research


  • Writing – I have produced technical reports and white papers for industry use; written copy for advertisements; collaborated on successful grant applications; and I am an author of multiple award-winning academic publications.
  • Visualization Design – I use diagrams to help communicate complex ideas and to summarize data in easily digestible formats
  • Speaking – I give compelling and engaging presentations to engineering, design, social science, and lay audiences
  • Teaching – I have mentored young researchers from their first to fifth projects; and taught human-centered design, introductory computer science, and computer ethics coursework at the college level


  • OmniGraffle – Extensive experience developing diagrams to communicate everything from theoretical concepts to information architecture to interface design ideas
  • MaxQDA and NVivo – Extensive qualitative data coding expertise with experience using both MaxQDA and NVivo in team environments
  • R, d3.js, Chart.js – In two projects, I have used R to do basic processing of survey data; I have more extensive experience with the d3.js and Chart.js libraries for visualizing and communicating everything from social science survey results to complex metagenomic data
  • Adobe Creative Suite – Experience laying out complex multi-page documents in InDesign, posters and advertisements in Illustrator, and creating design mockups in Photoshop

Other Technical Skills

I often draw on my computer science background to supplement my research and communication work. I am comfortable working on the command line, writing a small python script to analyze data, and using bash scripts to automate file processing.

I wrote my dissertation in markdown with pandoc and LaTeX post-processing, maintain my own website with a Jekyll backend, and have experience themeing custom Wordpress and Shopify websites. I am an experienced HTML, S/CSS, and JS programmer.

These technical skills complement and inform my work: helping me to better understand the technical details of the systems that I study; broadening my analytic toolkit; and improving my ability to communicate with engineering audiences.

Full Papers

  1. Ellie Harmon and Six Silberman. (2018). “Rating Working Conditions on Digital Labor Platforms” In Thomas Ludwig, Karin Hansson, Tanja Aitamurto, Neha Gupta (Eds.) Special Issue on Crowd Dynamics: Conflicts, Contradictions, and Cooperation Issues in Crowdsourcing, Journal of Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Online First, 25 May 2018. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10606-018-9313-5 | Read-only free link
  2. Ellie Harmon, Chris Bopp, and Amy Voida. (2017). “The Design Fictions of Philanthropic IT: Stuck Between an Imperfect Present and an Impossible FutureProc. CHI 2017 in Denver, CO, USA. [ACM Link] *
  3. Chris Bopp, Ellie Harmon, and Amy Voida. (2017). “Disempowered by Data: Nonprofits, Social Enterprises, and the Consequences of Data-Driven WorkProc. CHI 2017 in Denver, CO, USA. [ACM Link] *
  4. Ellie Harmon, Matthias Korn, and Amy Voida. (2017). “Supporting Everyday Philanthropy: Care Work In Situ and at ScaleProc. CSCW 2017 in Portland, OR, USA. [ACM Link] *
  5. Amy Voida, Ellie Harmon, Willa Weller, Aubrey Thornsbury, Ariana Casale, Samuel Vance, Forrest Adams, Zach Hoffman, Alex Schmidt, Kevin Grimle, Luke Cox, Aubrey Neeley, Christopher Goodyear. (2017). “Competing Currencies: Designing for Politics in Units of MeasurementProc. CSCW 2017 in Portland, OR, USA. [ACM Link] *
  6. Lynn Dombrowski, Ellie Harmon, and Sarah Fox. (2016). “Social Justice-Oriented Interaction Design: Outlining Key Design Strategies and CommitmentsProc. DIS 2016 in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Best Paper Award (Award Rate: 1%, Acceptance Rate: 25%) [ACM Link] *
  7. Melissa Mazmanian, Ingrid Erickson, and Ellie Harmon. (2015) “Circumscribed time and porous time: Logics as a way of studying temporalityProc. CSCW 2015 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Acceptance Rate: 28%) [ACM Link] *
  8. Ellie Harmon and Melissa Mazmanian. (2013) “Stories of the smartphone in everyday discourse: conflict, tension & instabilityProc. CHI 2013 in Paris, France. pp. 1051-1060. Best Paper Honorable Mention (Award rate: 5%, Acceptance rate: 20%) [ACM Link] *
  9. Amy Voida, Ellie Harmon, and Ban Al-Ani. (2012) “Bridging between organizations and the public: volunteer coordinators’ uneasy relationship with social computingProc. CHI 2012 in Austin, TX, USA. pp. 1967-1976. Best Paper Honorable Mention (Award rate: 5%, Acceptance rate: 23%) [ACM Link] *
  10. Amy Voida, Ellie Harmon, and Ban Al-Ani. (2011) “Homebrew databases: complexities of everyday information management in nonprofit organizationsProc. CHI 2011 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. pp. 915-924. Best Paper Honorable Mention (Acceptance rate: 26%) [ACM Link] *
  11. Ellie Harmon and Nancy J. Nersessian. (2008) “Cognitive partnerships on the bench top: designing to support scientific researchersProc. DIS 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa. pp. 119-128. (Acceptance rate: 34%) [ACM Link] *
  12. Steven Dow, Manish Mehta, Ellie Harmon, Blair MacIntyre, and Michael Mateas. (2007) “Presence and engagement in an interactive dramaProc. CHI 2007 in San Jose, CA, USA. pp. 1475-1484. (Acceptance rate: 24%) [ACM Link] *

** Note: Links for ACM publications go to the ACM Digital Library where you should be able to download the definitive version of articles free of charge. Please email me if you run into any problems with this service.

Short Papers / Essays

  1. Vera Khovanskaya, Lynn Dombrowski, Ellie Harmon, Matthias Korn, Ann Light, Michael Stewart, and Amy Voida. (2018) Designing against the status quo. Interactions 25, 2 (February 2018), 64-67. [ACM Link] *
  2. Shuo Niu, Alan Dix, Ellie Harmon, Don Taylor, Scott McCrickard. 2018. How Hiking Bloggers Explore Blogs with Interactive Text Visualization. Position paper presented at Technology on the Trail, a workshop at the ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork (GROUP ‘18). Sanibel Island, FL, USA.
  3. Six Silberman, Ellie Harmon, Lilly Irani, and Kai Li. 2017. Crowd work and the “on-demand” economy in Hesamag, no. 16, pp. 36-39. [PDF]
    • Spanish translation: El trabajo colaborativo y la economía ‘bajo demanda’: investigando las condiciones laborales para proteger los derechos y emporaderar a los trabajadores de plataformas digitales in Gaceta Sindical, December 2017.
  4. Ellie Harmon (2016) Commentary for alt.chi Paper: Meaning Reconstruction as an Approach to Analyze Critical Dimensions of HCI Research in Ext. abstracts CHI 2016. [ACM Link (Paywall)] or [PDF]
  5. Ellie Harmon (2012) “Edit-work: promoting interdisciplinary conversation within flagship journals” in Chima M. Anyadike-Danes et al., “Reflections on American anthropology: a conference at UC Irvine.,” American Anthropologist.
  6. Ellie Harmon and Melissa Mazmanian. (2011) “Smartphones and the social dynamics of busyness” at NSF sponsored symposium: `Slow down, you move too fast’: rethinking the culture of busyness and IT. University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
  7. Brandon Brown, Marshini Chetty, Andrea Grimes, and Ellie Harmon (2006) “Reflecting on health: a system for students to monitor diet and exercise” in Ext. abstracts CHI 2006, Montréal, Québec, Canada, pp. 1807-1812. [ACM Link] *


  1. D. Scott McCrickard, Michael A. Horning, Steve Harrison, Ellie Harmon, Alan Dix, Norman Makato Su, and Timothy Stelter (2018). Technology on the Trail, a workshop at ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork (GROUP ‘18). Proposal appears in Extended Abstracts, Proc. GROUP, pp. 365-368. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3148330.3152161 | [ACM Link to Proposal] *

  2. Ellie Harmon, Matthias Korn, Ann Light, and Amy Voida (2016). Designing Against the Status Quo, a workshop at Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2016), Brisbane, Australia. Proposal appears in Extended Abstracts, Proc. DIS. [ACM Link to Proposal] * | [Workshop Website]

  1. Christina Agapakis and Ellie Harmon (2017) “DIRT” as part of Feminist Climate Change: Beyond the Binary, a UCLA campus exhibition at Ars Electronica 2017. Splace, Kunstuniversität Linz, Hauptplatz 6, Linz, Austria. September 6-11 2017. http://feministclimatechange.com/
  2. Christina Agapakis and Ellie Harmon (2014) “DIRT”. May 1 - 15, 2014. UCLA Art|Science Center. http://dirtmap.org

    Celebrating the aesthetics of data visualization and questioning the ways we make scientific knowledge through the production of a gallery exhibit and website exploring the beauty, excesses, and limitations of a diversity of processes for representing microbes in the biological sciences.

Invited Talks

  1. Robert Liebman, Wu-chang Feng, Ellie Harmon, Rebecca Sexton (2018) “Full STEAM Ahead: Drawing Underrepresented Students into Cyber” at Department of Sociology Brown Bag Series, Portland State University, 13 April 2018.
  2. Ellie Harmon (2018) “What’s up with Facebook?”, as part of panel “How Technology Shapes Beliefs and Polarizes Society: A Roundtable” at Multnomah County Central Library, Portland, OR. 13 March 2018.
  3. Shuo Niu, Alan Dix, Ellie Harmon, Don Taylor, Scott McCrickard. 2018. How Hiking Bloggers Explore Blogs with Interactive Text Visualization. Position paper presented at Technology on the Trail, a workshop at the ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork (GROUP ‘18). Sanibel Island, FL, USA.
  4. Ellie Harmon (2017) “Technology in the Home: Insights from ethnographic research with three southern California Families” at Intel, Portland, OR. 01 September 2017.
  5. Ellie Harmon (2017) “‘My Maps, My Music, My Everything’: Smartphones, Technology, and Ways to ‘Take a Break from this Life’ on the Pacific Crest Trail” at Technology on the Trail. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. https://technologyonthetrail.wordpress.com/workshop/
  6. Christine Beckman, Melissa Mazmanian, and Ellie Harmon (2015) “Rituals of Control: Creating and Living under a Budget Number” at Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  7. Ellie Harmon (2014) “ICTs as materialized relations: connection and disconnection in an age of ubiquitous computing” at Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC), Doctoral Colloquium, Fordham University, New York. September 7, 2014.
  8. Ellie Harmon (2014) “Temporal Hopes” at Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA. May 21, 2014.
  9. Christina Agapakis and Ellie Harmon (2014) “DIRT” at LASER. California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) and Leonardo/ISAST, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology at UCLA. May 1, 2014.
  10. Melissa Gregg and Ellie Harmon (2014) “Mindful Labor” at Social Media and Psychosocial Wellbeing. Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ.
  11. Ellie Harmon. (2013) “Information materialities: what do they have to do with my work anyway?” at Symposium on information materialities. Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine, CA.
  12. Christina Agapakis and Ellie Harmon (2013) “Dirt: Biogeography on the Pacific Crest Trail” at Transmissions and Entanglements: Uses of inventive methods Irvine, CA.
  13. Ellie Harmon. (2013) “A dirty science ethnography of dirt” at Society for the social studies of science (4S 2013) in San Diego, CA.
  14. Ellie Harmon. (2012) “Smartphone intimacies: shifting boundaries of humanmachine subjectivities” at Society for the social studies of science (4S 2012) in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  15. Ellie Harmon. (2012) “Worlding the smartphone: technologies, people and stories” at UCI visual studies conference: constructing worlds: making and breaking order. Visual Studies Department, University of California, Irvine, CA.
  16. Ellie Harmon. (2011) “Personal digital taxidermy: imagining the future-past” at Society for the social studies of science (4S 2011) in Cleveland, OH.

Book Chapters

  1. Melissa Mazmanian, Christine Beckman, and Ellie Harmon. (2015) “Ethnography Across the Work Boundary: Benefits and Considerations for Organizational StudiesHandbook of Innovative Qualitative Research Methods: Pathways to Cool Ideas and Interesting Papers. Kimberly Elsbach and Roderick Kramer, Eds. Routledge. pp. 262-271.

Media Coverage

Teaching Experience


Teaching Assistant

Student Supervision

Grants & Fellowships

Honors & Awards

Service & Etc…