To read this content please select one of the options below:

Web search to access health information by adults with intellectual disability

Theja Kuruppu Arachchi (School of Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia) (National Institute of Library and Information Sciences (NILIS), University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka) (Main Library, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka)
Laurianne Sitbon (School of Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Jinglan Zhang (School of Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Stewart Koplick (Service Design and Implementation Specialist, Endeavour Foundation, Tingalpa, Australia)
Maria Hoogstrate (School of Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Margot Brereton (School of Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 2 January 2023

33

Abstract

Purpose

This study explored the current and desired use of web-search, particularly for health information, by adults with intellectual disability.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors surveyed 39 participants who were in supported employment or attending day centers in Australia. The survey, delivered through structured interviews, increased participation with data in a form of the participants' narratives. The responses were analyzed through a form of thematic analysis.

Findings

This study's results present the participants' daily health information interests, approaches to finding information and expectations for self-sufficiency. Participants' interest was in information to stay healthy rather than purely clinical information. The participants were keen to use online information in, accessible as well as entertaining and engaging formats. Supporting others close to the participants was the prominent intention of participants' health information access. Participants showed aspirations for an autonomous life by wanting to learn how to search.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study provide some avenues for consumer health information access to be respectful and inclusive of users with intellectual disability, both from an accessible design perspective as well as from a learning and support standpoint.

Originality/value

This study complements other human–computer interaction (HCI) studies which observe how adults with intellectual disability can be supported to engage with web search; this study offers the adults' verbalized perspectives on how adults wish to interact with web searching for health information, nuanced by adults' existing abilities and support needs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all people with intellectual disabilities who participated in this study. The authors wish to acknowledge the support for this research study from the University Grant Commission, Sri Lanka (UGC/DRIC/QUT2016/RUH/02), Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Assoc. Prof. Sitbon is supported by the Australian Research Council (FT190100855).

Citation

Kuruppu Arachchi, T., Sitbon, L., Zhang, J., Koplick, S., Hoogstrate, M. and Brereton, M. (2023), "Web search to access health information by adults with intellectual disability", Online Information Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-06-2021-0337

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles