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The influence of positive hypothesis testing on youths’ online health-related information seeking

The influence of positive hypothesis testing on youths’ online health-related information seeking Purpose – The aim of this paper is to investigate whether/how youths’ pre-existing beliefs regarding health-related topics influence their online searching behaviors, such as their selection of keywords and search results, their credibility assessments and the conclusions they draw and the uses they make (or do not make) of the information they find. More specifically, we sought to determine whether positive hypothesis testing occurs when youth search for health information online and to ascertain the potential impacts this phenomenon can have on their search behaviors, their ability to accurately answer health-related questions and their confidence in their answers. Design/methodology/approach – An exploratory field experiment was conducted with participants in an after-school program (“HackHealth”), which aims to improve the health literacy skills and health-related self-efficacy of middle-school students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Findings – Evidence of positive hypothesis testing among the participants was found and important impacts on their search outcomes were observed. Practical implications – The paper was concluded with suggestions for improving digital literacy instruction for youth so as to counteract the potentially negative influences of positive hypothesis testing. Originality/value – This study extends existing research about positive hypothesis testing to investigate the existence and impact of this phenomenon within the context of tweens (ages 11-14) searching for health information online. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Library World Emerald Publishing

The influence of positive hypothesis testing on youths’ online health-related information seeking

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0307-4803
DOI
10.1108/NLW-07-2014-0084
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to investigate whether/how youths’ pre-existing beliefs regarding health-related topics influence their online searching behaviors, such as their selection of keywords and search results, their credibility assessments and the conclusions they draw and the uses they make (or do not make) of the information they find. More specifically, we sought to determine whether positive hypothesis testing occurs when youth search for health information online and to ascertain the potential impacts this phenomenon can have on their search behaviors, their ability to accurately answer health-related questions and their confidence in their answers. Design/methodology/approach – An exploratory field experiment was conducted with participants in an after-school program (“HackHealth”), which aims to improve the health literacy skills and health-related self-efficacy of middle-school students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Findings – Evidence of positive hypothesis testing among the participants was found and important impacts on their search outcomes were observed. Practical implications – The paper was concluded with suggestions for improving digital literacy instruction for youth so as to counteract the potentially negative influences of positive hypothesis testing. Originality/value – This study extends existing research about positive hypothesis testing to investigate the existence and impact of this phenomenon within the context of tweens (ages 11-14) searching for health information online.

Journal

New Library WorldEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 9, 2015

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