Advertisement

Utilising Computer-Mediated Communication and the Internet in Health Research

  • Nikki Kiyimba
  • Jessica Nina Lester
  • Michelle O’Reilly
Chapter

Abstract

In the modern world, there is a growing reliance of computer-mediated communication and social media sources. In this chapter, we illustrate the value of Internet sources, such as discussion forums, and social media, such as Facebook, for the study of health-related issues. Additionally, some email conversations, text messages, and instant message conversations can be classed as naturally occurring. The practical benefits and the challenges of using this kind of data for health research are critically discussed, along with some additional ethical dimensions that this kind of data raise.

Keywords

Social media Computer-mediated communication Email Instant messenger E-counselling 

References

  1. Abbott, J., Klein, B., & Ciechomski, L. (2008). Best practices in online therapy. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26(2–4), 360–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Counseling Association. (1999). Ethical standards for Internet online counseling. Retrieved March 19, 2018 from http://www.counseling.org/Content/NavigationMenu/RESOURCES/ETHICS/EthicalStandardsforInternetOnlineCounseling/Ethical_Stand_Online.htm
  3. Branthwaite, A., & Patterson, S. (2011). The power of qualitative research in the era of social media. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 14(4), 430–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brennan, P. F. (1996). The future of clinical communication in an electronic environment. Holistic Nursing Practice, 11, 97–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Briones, R., Nan, X., Madden, K., & Waks, L. (2012). When vaccines go viral: An analysis of HPV vaccine coverage on YouTube. Health Communication, 27(5), 478–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chenail, R. (2011). Qualitative researchers in the Blogosphere: Using blogs as diaries and data. The Qualitative Report, 16(1), 249–254.Google Scholar
  7. Chester, A., & Glass, C. (2006). Online counselling: A descriptive analysis of therapy services on the Internet. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 34(2), 145–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Church, K., & de Oliveria, R. (2013). What’s up with WhatsApp? Comparing mobile instant messaging behaviours with traditional SMS. In MobileHCI 13 proceedings of the 15th International conference on human-computer interaction with mobile devices and services (pp. 352–361). New York, NY: ACM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Culver, J. D., Gerr, F., & Frumkin, H. (1997). Medical information on the Internet: a study of an electronic bulletin board. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 12, 466–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dickerson, S., Flaig, D., & Kennedy, M. (2000). Therapeutic connection: Help seeking on the Internet for persons with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Heart and Lung, 29, 248–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Donelle, L., & Booth, R. (2012). Health tweets: An exploration of health promotion on Twitter. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3), 4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Eastham, L. (2011). Research using blogs for data: Public documents or private musings? Research in Nursing and Health, 34, 353–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eysenbach, G., & Till, J. (2001). Ethical issues in qualitative research on Internet communities. British Medical Journal, 323, 1103–1105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eysenbach, G., Powell, J., Englesakis, M., Rizo, C., & Stern, A. (2004). Health related virtual communities and electronic support groups: Systematic review of the effects of online peer to peer interactions. British Medical Journal, 328, 1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fingeld-Connett, D. (2015). Twitter and health science research. West Journal of Nursing Research, 37(10), 1269–1283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. General Medical Council (UK). (2013). Doctors’ use of social media. Retrieved November 5, from http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/21186.asp
  17. Giles, D. (2015). Red flags: The social construction of a symptom. In M. O’Reilly & J. N. Lester (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of child mental health: Discourse and conversation studies (pp. 217–232). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Giles, D. C., & Newbold, J. (2011). Self- and other-diagnosis in user-led mental health online communities. Qualitative Health Research, 21(3), 419–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goss, S., Jamieson, A., & Palmer, S. (2001). Guidelines for online counseling and psychotherapy. Rugby: BACP.Google Scholar
  20. Gray, N., Klein, J., Noyce, P., Sesselberg, T., & Cantrill, J. (2005). Health information-seeking behaviour in adolescence: The place of the Internet. Social Science and Medicine, 60, 1467–1478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Guidry, J., Carlyle, K., Messner, M., & Jin, Y. (2015). On pins and needles: How vaccines are portrayed on Pinterest. Vaccine, 33(39), 5051–5056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hansen, C., Interrante, J., Ailes, E., Frey, M., Broussard, C., Godoshian, V., … Gilboa, S. (2016). Assessment of YouTube videos as a source of information on medication use in pregnancy. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 25(1), 35–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hardey, M. (2001). ‘E-Health’: The Internet and the transformation of patients into consumers and producers of health knowledge. Information, Communication & Society, 4(3), 388–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hookway, N. (2008). Entering the blogosphere: Some strategies for using blogs in social research. Qualitative Research, 8, 91–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hunt, N., & McHale, S. (2007). A practical guide to the e-mail interview. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 1415–1421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnston, M., King, D., Arora, S., Behar, N., Athanasiou, T., Sevdalis, N., & Darzi, A. (2015). Smartphones let surgeons know WhatsApp: An analysis of communication in emergency surgical teams. The American Journal of Surgery, 209(1), 45–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Karimkhani, C., Connett, J., Boyers, L., Quest, T., & Dellavalle, R. (2014). Dermatology on Instagram. Dermatology Online Journal, (7), 20.Google Scholar
  29. Keelan, J., Pavri, V., Balakrishnan, R., & Wilson, K. (2010). An analysis of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine debate on MySpace blogs. Vaccine, 28(6), 1535–1540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. King, R., Bambling, M., Lloyd, C., Gomurra, R., Smith, S., Reid, W., & Wegner, K. (2006). Online counselling: The motives and experiences of young people who choose the Internet instead of face to face or telephone counselling. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 6(3), 169–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lee, E-J., & Oh, S (2017). Computer-mediated communication. Oxford bibliographies. Retrieved March 2018, from http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756841/obo-9780199756841-0160.xml
  32. Lewis, K., Kaufman, J., Gonzalez, M., Wimmer, A., & Christakis, N. (2008). Tastes, ties, and time: A new social network dataset using Facebook.com. Social Networks, 30, 330–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lukač, M. (2011). Down to the bone: A corpus-based critical discourse analysis of pro-eating disorder blogs. Jezikoslolje, 12(2), 187–209.Google Scholar
  34. Macias, W., Stavchansky, L., & Smith, T. L. (2005). Health-related message boards/chatrooms on the web: Discussion content and implications for pharmaceutical sponsorships. Journal of Health Communication, International Perspectives, 10(3), 209–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meredith, J., & Potter, J. (2014). Conversation analysis and electronic interactions: Methodological, analytic and technical considerations. In H. Lim & F. Sudweeks (Eds.), Innovative methods and technologies for electronic discourse analysis (pp. 370–393). Hersey, PA: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moreno, M., Grant, A., Kacvinsky, L., Moreno, P., & Fleming, M. (2012). Older adolescents’ views regarding participation in Facebook research. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(5), 439–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Murphy, L., Parnass, P., Mitchell, D. L., Hallett, R., Cayley, P., & Seagram, S. (2009). Client satisfaction and outcome comparisons of online and face-to-face counselling methods. British Journal of Social Work, 39(4), 627–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Obar, J., & Wildman, S. (2015). Social media definition and the governance challenge: An introduction to the special issue. Telecommunications Policy, 39(9), 745–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. O’Reilly, M., Karim, K., & Lester, J. (2015). Separating “emotion” from “the science”: Exploring the perceived value of information for parents and families of children with ASD. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 20(3), 500–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Osheroff, J. (1997). Online, health-related discussion groups. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 12(8), 511–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Park, H., Reber, B., & Chon, M.-G. (2015). Tweeting as health communication: Health organizations’ use of Twitter for health promotion and public engagement. Journal of Health Communication, 21(2), 188–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Paulus, T., Lester, J. N., & Dempster, P. (2014). Digital tools for qualitative research. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peters, R., & Sikorski, R. (1997). Sharing information and interests on the Internet. JAMA, 277, 1258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Simpson, J. (2002). Computer-mediated communication. ELT Journal, 56, 414–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith, A., & Brenner, J. (2012). Twitter use. Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 5, 2017, from http://pewinternet.org/∼/media//Files/Reports/2012/PIP_Twitter_Use_2012.pdf
  46. Smithson, J. (2015). Using discourse analysis to study online forums for young people who self-harm. In M. O’Reilly & J. N. Lester (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of child mental health (pp. 384–401). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stewart, K., & Williams, M. (2005). Researching online populations: The use of online focus groups for social research. Qualitative Research, 5(4), 395–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stommel, E., & Koole, T. (2010). The online support group as a community: A micro-analysis of the interaction with a new member. Discourse Studies, 12(3), 357–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Umefjord, G., Petersson, G., & Hamberg, K. (2003). Reasons for consulting a doctor on the Internet: Web survey of users of an ask the doctor service. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 5(4), e26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. White, M., & Dorman, S. (2001). Receiving social support online: implications for health education. Health education research, 16(6), 693–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Whitlock, J., Powers, J., & Eckenrode, J. (2006). The virtual cutting edge: The Internet and adolescent self-injury. Developmental Psychology, 42(3), 407–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikki Kiyimba
    • 1
  • Jessica Nina Lester
    • 2
  • Michelle O’Reilly
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of ChesterChesterUK
  2. 2.School of EducationIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.The Greenwood Institute of Child HealthUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

Personalised recommendations