Assessing the Health Information Source Perceptions of Tweens Using Card-Sorting Exercises

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Adolescents, consumer health information behaviour, credibility, digital literacy, health information needs, health information seeking, health literacy, informal learning, information literacy, Internet searching, K-12 health education, literacy programmes, youth

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As young people are increasingly turning to the Internet to meet their information needs, it is imperative to investigate their perceptions regarding various potential sources of health information. A series of card-sorting exercises were administered to new participants in an after-school programme (HackHealth) to find out which sources of health information these greater Washington DC metro area middle school students would turn to, which they would not and their reasons behind these judgements. The findings revealed that participants were very aware of the importance of trustworthiness when looking for health information and they valued both professional expertise based on formal education and expertise born of personal experience with a particular health condition. However, they also valued convenience, ease and speed, and sometimes sacrificed information quality. Some important implications of these findings for healthcare and information professionals are identified and suggestions for future research in this area are offered.

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Journal of Information Science, v. 44, issue 2, p. 148-164