Friday, 18 April 2008

Article about health info searching behaviour...

Just finished reading:
Harris R & Wathen N. 2007. "If my mother was alive I'd probably have called her.": women's search for health information in rural Canada. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 47(1):67-79.
which concluded with the following suggestions (some of which are pretty obvious but are important to spell out specifically nonetheless).
  1. "...an important, overarching consideration for those designing and delivering health reference services should be the promotion of communitywide awareness of such services."

  2. "...women want and need not only health information per se, but to have it presented, and ideally discussed, in the context of a caring, interactive relationship - one that respects the woman as the expert when it comes to her own needs, concerns, and context."

  3. "For many, 'health' is incorporated in the concept of 'well-being' or 'quality of life,'" and "Any health reference service, therefore, should be interlinked with other subject areas that patrons may view as part of health and well-being, or, as one of the women in [the] study put it, 'the emotional side of health.'"

  4. Health information programs and services should be designed not only to help patrons find high-quality information, but also teach them basic skills for searching, identifying high-quality sources, and knowing what types of information require follow-up action, such as consultation with a healthcare provider."
The basic message was that "It seems naive, if not cynical, to assume that the healthcare needs of women who live in rural communities will be met by simply deepening the supply of Internet-based health information..."

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