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Article
Publication date: 18 November 2019

Jonas Tana, Emil Eirola and Kristina Eriksson-Backa

This paper brings focus and attention to the aspect of time within health information behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to critically assess and present strengths…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper brings focus and attention to the aspect of time within health information behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to critically assess and present strengths and weaknesses of utilising the infodemiology approach and metrics as a novel way to examine temporal variations and patterns of online health information behaviour. The approach is shortly exemplified by presenting empirical evidence for temporal patterns of health information behaviour on different time-scales.

Design/methodology/approach

A short review of online health information behaviour is presented and methodological barriers to studying the temporal nature of this behaviour are emphasised. To exemplify how the infodemiology approach and metrics can be utilised to examine temporal patterns, and to test the hypothesis of existing rhythmicity of health information behaviour, a brief analysis of longitudinal data from a large discussion forum is analysed.

Findings

Clear evidence of robust temporal patterns and variations of online health information behaviour are shown. The paper highlights that focussing on time and the question of when people engage in health information behaviour can have significant consequences.

Practical implications

Studying temporal patterns and trends for health information behaviour can help in creating optimal interventions and health promotion campaigns at optimal times. This can be highly beneficial for positive health outcomes.

Originality/value

A new methodological approach to study online health information behaviour from a temporal perspective, a phenomenon that has previously been neglected, is presented. Providing evidence for rhythmicity can complement existing epidemiological data for a more holistic picture of health and diseases, and their behavioural aspects.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 71 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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Abstract

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 71 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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