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Bad Info = Bad Health?

12 November 2015

Can you help a PhD researcher who is trying to find out what happens to bad information that is posted on online discussion forums? Do you regularly use online health discussion forums to talk about your or your child’s condition? If so, you may be able to help out with this academic study. Jennifer Cole, a PhD researcher at Royal Holloway University of London, is interested in how discussion forums deal with incorrect and inaccurate health information.

If you come across any discussion forum post which you feel contains inaccurate health information, regardless of which website discussion forum you find it in, she would be very grateful if you could either email her a link to it: Jennifer.Cole.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk or post a link to it on her Reddit forum Bad Info = Bad Health?

Jennifer will then follow the discussion to see if the post is corrected by other forum users, removed by the forum moderators, and how it is treated within the forum.

Jennifer is also interested in what happens in closed forums but appreciates that as they are closed, moderators and members won’t be able to send her links to follow.  However she would be very keen to set up interviews with either moderators or members to find out how health information is managed. These will be covered by the University’s ethics policy and will ensure privacy and confidentiality. If you are interested in being interviewed please contact Jennifer on Jennifer.Cole.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk.

The study will be running until April 2016, so please keep it in mind as you surf the net and send on any examples you come across. And if you’d like to contact Jennifer for more information about the study, please feel free to email her on the address above.