Journal of Information Resources Management ›› 2022, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (1): 34-45.doi: 10.13365/j.jirm.2022.01.034

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Experimental Research on the Process of Online Surrogate Health Information Seeking: Character Analysis and Phase Identification

Song Xiaokang1 Zhao Yuxiang2 Li Xinyue3 Zhu Qinghua3   

  1. 1. School of Management,Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, 221004; 
    2. School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, 210094; 
    3. School of Information Management, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023
  • Online:2022-01-26 Published:2022-02-25

Abstract: Online surrogate health information seeking behavior is an effective way to bridge digital inequality. The purpose of this study is to explore the characteristics of user behavior in the process of online surrogate health information seeking and identify different behavior stages. The experimental data were collected through quasi experimental observation, think aloud, interview and survey. This study analyzed source selection, seeking result types and the role of information needs communication in the process of surrogate health information seeking. The results found that surrogate seekers generally use multiple information sources to obtain health information. They focused on daily health care, symptoms, treatment/examination, disease causes and precautions related information. The surrogate seekers, who have further information communication, have higher subjective perceived satisfaction and usefulness, and their seeking results has higher accuracy and comprehensiveness. This study proposes a seven-stage process model of online surrogate health information seeking behavior. The results are helpful to understand the behavior process, and provide reference for optimizing health website design and improving health information services.

Key words: Surrogate health information seeking, Information source selection, Health information types, Information communication, Process model

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