A Critical Perspective of Engagement in Online Health Communities

Date

2019-05-30

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

0960-085X

Volume Title

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Many individuals go to online health communities to obtain emotional and information support. We employ critical discourse analysis (CDA) to examine the discourse in five online childhood immunization forums to identify online practices related to engagement and emancipation. We identify four online engagement discourse types in online health communities: cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and political. Consistent with our critical perspective, we identify drivers and obstacles to emancipation. The obstacles to emancipation include the adverse consequences of building online knowledge and collective intelligence, shifts in patient-physician relationships, and “Big” institutional power. Members’ suggestions for empowering community members include encouraging members to conduct their own research on childhood immunization and to differentiate between facts and opinions. These findings suggest that sensemaking is one way to emancipate online health community members, while highlighting the challenges of using online communities to promote emancipation.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.

Keywords

Online health community, engagement, empowerment, cognitive engagement, emotional engagement, behavioral engagement, political engagement, critical discourse analysis, sensemaking, childhood immunization, health care

Citation

Hur, I., Cousins, K. and Stahl, B. C. (2019) A Critical Perspective of Engagement in Online Health Communities. European Journal of Information Systems,

Rights

Research Institute

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)