Blogs & Biomedical Research Literature

Investigating biomedical research literature in the blogosphere: case study of diabetes and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)

(Social Media Related Research Initiatives) – Funded by a $3,500 RDF grant from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dalhousie University – Principal Investigator, 2010-2011.

Patients, caregivers, and doctors increasingly rely on blogs, online forums and other forms of social media to discuss and look for treatment options, and share their stories and personal experiences. This is an emerging area of research, which is of great interest to health professionals, patients, and policy makers. Together with Dr. Fiona Black, Dr. Gruzd examines the role of weblogs in the communication of specialized health-related information, to both lay and expert communities. This is done by analyzing and comparing two information landscapes, those of traditional, peer-reviewed research and of the blogosphere. In particular, we explore the types of diabetic health information available online, their credibility and how people access, use and share this information with others in the blogosphere. A component of the analysis involves the visualization of health related topics and relationships among bloggers via semantic and social networks of diabetes discussions in the blogosphere. By gaining a greater understanding of this new interplay between the public’s increasing access to medical information and traditional peer-reviewed health research journals, we hope to inform the scholarship of health information searching and services online.

Related publication:

  • § Gruzd, A., Black, F.A., Le, Y., Amos, K. (2012). Investigating Biomedical Research Literature in the Blogosphere: A Case Study of Diabetes and HbA1c. Journal of the Medical Library Association 100(1). DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.100.1.007