Playing doctor: the risks of seeking health-information on the internet

The goal of this research is to check out the reason why people search on the internet for medical information and whether they are prepared for appropriately interpreting the collected information. According to theories concerning information seeking behavior and health risk communication a digital survey is carried out. The survey concentrates on the purpose for participants to use the web for search for health related info. To test whether participants can handle processing and interpreting medical information properly the respondents are arbitrarily divided into 4 groups. Each group is given a medical text that’s questioned on accuracy. The four texts vary in accuracy and complexity. The study exhibits what sort of information individuals look for on the web and the socio-cognitive variables underlying this behavior. In addition it reveals how people confirm medical texts. The study suggests that laymen don’t have the expertise to properly validate medical information…

Contents: Risks of seeking health-information on the internet

Research goal and purpose
Research design and procedure
Operationalisation (survey part of the study)
Operationalisation (quasi experimental part of the study)
General results
Survey results
Quasi experiment results
Conclusions, Discussion and Recommendations
Recommendations for future research
Appendix I: General questions
Appendix II: Quasi experiment texts and questions.

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Source: University of Twente

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