5153.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - Board 2

Abstract #6843

Methods for sampling and analyzing Internet health information: Lessons from studying cancer web sites

Julie A. Becker, PhD(c), MPH, Department of Health Studies, Temple University, 2534 Swain Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130, 215-763-0754, jbecker@astro.temple.edu

Access to consumer information on the Internet has been viewed as a tool to help eliminate health disparities. While questions regarding quality have been raised, the issues of balance and bias of health information on web sites have not been addressed. This presentation describes the methods developed to study balance and bias of Internet consumer health information using web sites likely to be accessed by cancer patients. The sampling plan encompasses the rational for purposive versus random sampling as well as sampling of linked web sites through the use of snowball-like procedure. Two tools were developed to study web site information content and policies. A content analysis tool was constructed from previous rating systems that examined quality but not balance. Multiple coders were used to analyze the purposive sample of web sites. Three coders were trained to use the tool and 8 received no training. The 3 trained coders achieved 98% agreement. The 8 coders who received no training (to simulate consumers) achieved 73% agreement. An e-mail survey tool for web masters was created to examine the policies/procedures used to post health information on these sites. Both tools were validated through content validity; reliability of these tools was established through the use of a test-retest approach. Results from these methods demonstrate that rigorous approaches can be used to assess balance and bias as well as quality of health information on web sites.

Learning Objectives: By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to: - describe suggested methods to create sampling plan - describe content analysis tool - describe survey tool for web master to examine web site policies - identify some of the pros and con of performing Internet research

Keywords: Health Communications, Internet Tools

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA