Online environments: Young people as information producers

In this sub-study, PhD student Anna-Maija Multas investigates health related literacies in everyday health information environments by focusing on young video bloggers content creation in social media. The study is divided into phases, and it started with an examination of the current trends of health related literacy research. In the second phase, that is currently in process, the empirical examination focuses on studying how and what kinds of health related information literacy practices young people make use of and generate in the context social media, and especially within the practice of video blogging. A special emphasis is placed on investigating how information is approached, constructed and appraised within these practices. Moreover, the aim is to find out how young people construct cognitive authority in relation to health information they create and their followers on social media. The interdisciplinary approach of this study draws on the research and theoretical understanding from the fields of information studies, health sciences, educational sciences and social linguistics and applies nexus analysis as a broad methodological approach.

The first phase of the study is completed and the results are reported in two systematic review articles (Huhta et al., 2018a, 2018b). The findings of these systematic reviews show that (a) research on health related literacies usually present health literacy as technically derived set of skills on an individual level, rather than as socially enacted practices, and (b) research focusing on the health related literacies of young people is scarce (Huhta et al., 2018a, 2018b). Thus, in the second phase, the focus was placed on studying young people’s health related literacies from sociocultural perspective that takes into account the social and contextual aspects of literacies.

The multimodal data of the second phase consists of interviews, video diary data and YouTube-videos of three young video bloggers aged 16 to 24 years old. The data is analyzed using nexus analysis as a methodological tool aiming to reveal the historicity, discourses and interaction orders circulating through the action under examination. The preliminary findings of the second phase show that the norms of video blogging community, such as using experience-based knowledge as the main information source, guide the information practices of the video creation process (Multas & Hirvonen, 2019). Moreover, authenticity of the video blogger and the final YouTube-video as a whole are crucial elements in the construction of credibility and cognitive authority of the video blogger.

Publications connected to this sub-study:

Multas, A.-M. & Hirvonen, N. (2019). Employing nexus analysis in investigating information literacy. Teoksessa Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2019. Information Research, 24(4), paper colis1944. You can read the article here.

Hirvonen, N., Nygård, T., Palmgren-Neuvonen, L., Huhta, A-M. & Huotari, M-L. (2019) Finnish school health education viewed through an information literacy lens. Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Literacy 2018. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland (Communications in Computer and Information Science). You can read the article here.

Huhta, A.-M., Hirvonen, N. & Huotari, M.-L. (2018). Health literacy in web-based health information environments: Systematic review of concepts, definitions, and operationalization for measurement. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(12):e10273. You can read the article here.

Huhta, A.-M., Hirvonen, N. & Huotari, M.-L. (2018). Concepts related to health literacy in online information environments: a systematic review with an emphasis on approach to information. Teoksessa Kurbanoğlu S., Boustany J., Špiranec S., Grassian E., Mizrachi D., Roy L. (toim.) Information Literacy in the Workplace. ECIL 2017. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 810. Springer, Cham. You can read the article here.

Huhta, A.-M. (2016). Nuorten terveyden uuslukutaidot: auktoriteettien rakentuminen ja tiedon tuottaminen sosiaalisessa mediassa. Informaatiotutkimus 35(3), 26–28. Informaatiotutkimuksen päivät 3.–4.11.2016, Tampereen yliopisto, Tampere. Lyhyt katsaus. You can read the article in Finnish here.

Last updated: 27.4.2020