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      Using the Internet: Nutrition Information-Seeking Behaviours of Lay People Enrolled in a Massive Online Nutrition Course

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          People’s accessibility to nutrition information is now near universal due to internet access, and the information available varies in its scientific integrity and provider expertise. Understanding the information-seeking behaviours of the public is paramount for providing sound nutrition advice. This research aims to identify who learners in a nutrition-focused Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) turn to for nutrition information, and how they discuss the information they find. A multi-methods approach explored the information-seeking and sharing behaviours of MOOC learners. Summative content analysis, and an exploratory, inductive, qualitative approach analysed learners’ posts in MOOC discussion forums. From 476 posts, the majority (58.6%) of nutrition information sources learners reported were from websites. Providers of nutrition information were most commonly (34%) tertiary educated individuals lacking identifiable nutrition qualifications; 19% had no identifiable author information, and only 5% were from nutrition professionals. Qualitative themes identified that learners used nutrition information to learn, teach and share nutrition information. Consistent with connectivist learning theory, learners contributed their own sources of nutrition information to discussions, using their own knowledge networks to teach and share information. Nutrition professionals need to understand the principles of connectivist learning behaviours in order to effectively engage the public.

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          Most cited references 55

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          Three approaches to qualitative content analysis.

          Content analysis is a widely used qualitative research technique. Rather than being a single method, current applications of content analysis show three distinct approaches: conventional, directed, or summative. All three approaches are used to interpret meaning from the content of text data and, hence, adhere to the naturalistic paradigm. The major differences among the approaches are coding schemes, origins of codes, and threats to trustworthiness. In conventional content analysis, coding categories are derived directly from the text data. With a directed approach, analysis starts with a theory or relevant research findings as guidance for initial codes. A summative content analysis involves counting and comparisons, usually of keywords or content, followed by the interpretation of the underlying context. The authors delineate analytic procedures specific to each approach and techniques addressing trustworthiness with hypothetical examples drawn from the area of end-of-life care.
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            Patients using the Internet to obtain health information: how this affects the patient-health professional relationship.

            Health information is one of the most frequently sought topics on the Internet. A review of the literature was carried out to determine the use of the Internet for health information by the patient and how this could affect the patient-health professional relationship. This study is a literature review, summarizing multiple empirical studies on a single subject and is not intended to be a meta-analysis. The review showed that the majority of health related Internet searches by patients are for specific medical conditions. They are carried out by the patient: (1) before the clinical encounter to seek information to manage their own healthcare independently and/or to decide whether they need professional help; (2) after the clinical encounter for reassurance or because of dissatisfaction with the amount of detailed information provided by the health professional during the encounter. There has been a shift in the role of the patient from passive recipient to active consumer of health information. Health professionals are responding to the more 'Internet informed' patient in one or more of three ways: (1) the health professional feels threatened by the information the patient brings and responds defensively by asserting their 'expert opinion' (health professional-centred relationship). (2) The health professional and patient collaborate in obtaining and analysing the information (patient-centred relationship). (3) The health professional will guide patients to reliable health information websites (Internet prescription). It is important that health professionals acknowledge patients' search for knowledge, that they discuss the information offered by patients and guide them to reliable and accurate health websites. It is recommended that courses, such as 'patient informatics' are integrated in health professionals' education.
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              Qualitative data analysis: the framework approach.

              Qualitative methods are invaluable for exploring the complexities of health care and patient experiences in particular. Diverse qualitative methods are available that incorporate different ontological and epistemological perspectives. One method of data management that is gaining in popularity among healthcare researchers is the framework approach. We will outline this approach, discuss its relative merits and provide a working example of its application to data management and analysis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nutrients
                Nutrients
                nutrients
                Nutrients
                MDPI
                2072-6643
                12 March 2020
                March 2020
                : 12
                : 3
                Affiliations
                The Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food, Monash University, Level 1 264 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill, VIC 3168, Australia; melissa.adamski@ 123456monash.edu (M.A.); helen.truby@ 123456monash.edu (H.T.); karen.klassen@ 123456monash.edu (K.M.K.); stephanie.cowan@ 123456monash.edu (S.C.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: simone.gibson@ 123456monash.edu ; Tel.: +61-3-9902-4970
                Article
                nutrients-12-00750
                10.3390/nu12030750
                7146568
                32178291
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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