Saturday, June 23, 2012

German study in web-skill differences when looking for health info

Feufel, M. and Stahl, S. (2012) "What do web-use skill differences imply for online health information searches?" Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14 (3). This was a German study (undertaken by 2 researchers at the Harding Center for Risk Literacy, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin) involving 10 people under 30 who were more skilled in web search, and 12 people aged 50 and over who were less skilled. Participants did a digital literacy test as well, and education was another demographic factor. The researchers observed participants doing 3 web searches "to identify health information seekers’ cognitive strategies and attitudes". There were differences between less skilled and skilled users e.g. before going online the less skilled were worried about overload and their ability, whilst more skilled expressed awareness of quality issues, but interestingly "although people voice concerns about data quality issues, once they access a website, even skilled Web users are preoccupied with processing website contents" (i.e. once they actually found something that seemed relevant, the quality issue faded to the background).
Image is a Tagxedo of the article.

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