Internet Use by International Graduate Students in the USA Seeking Health Information

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International students, Graduate students, Consumer health information, Health information seeking, Internet health information

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Purpose– Considering that the internet is a useful source for health information, especially by foreign-born students, this exploratory study aimed to investigate international graduate students' internet use in the context of seeking health information.

Design/methodology/approach– Data were collected from 54 Korean graduate students in the USA using a survey questionnaire. Quantitative analysis using SPSS was conducted to describe Korean graduate students' internet use for seeking health information and to identify factors that possibly influence their health-information seeking activities.

Findings– The survey participants preferred Korean resources because of language problems and the internet was the primary source. They reported difficulties in identifying appropriate health information sources and understanding medical information. They often sought online health information to solve their or their family's current health problems and consequently, personal relevance was regarded as an important evaluation criterion, as was accuracy.

Research limitations/implications– By looking at an understudied user group, this study leads to a better understanding of the patterns of internet use for seeking health information among a specific ethnic group. The findings of this study demonstrate the needs of health education materials and guidelines that introduce credible health information sources and medical information for Korean graduate students and their families.

Originality/value– Despite the increasing number of international students in the USA, there is a lack of research on the health information-seeking behavior of international students. The findings of this study will help health education specialists and health information professionals provide international students with necessary health information.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Aslib Journal of Information Management, v. 66, no. 2, p. 117-133