Families, illness and information: A longitudinal, ethnographic study

This Early Careers Development grant provided support for Assistant Professor Tiffany Veinot to study the information activities and networks of chronically ill people and their family members and the roles they play in chronic illness-related coping, care, and support within families.

Start date: 7/1/2010
End date: 6/30/2013

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Health outcomes of chronic diseases can be influenced by a person’s coping actions, actions which may include information seeking. Information is an important resource for chronically ill people, and their family members may also engage in collaborative information behavior with their chronically ill relatives. This study adopted an ethnographic approach in order to understand the roles that information networks and activities play with chronically ill people and their family members.

This project investigated health information behaviors in marginalized families and communities, specifically the information networks and activities of chronically ill people and their family members and the roles they play in chronic illness-related coping, care, and support within families over time. The research involved individual interviews, family group interviews, and family network analysis with members of families in southeast Michigan dealing with HIV/AIDS or diabetes.

Results of this study will inform the development of innovative consumer health information services and systems to better support families. Research findings will be incorporated into the Library and Information Science curriculum at the School of Information, ensuring that the future library workforce will have the skills to meet the nation’s new information needs.

This research was a project of Veinot’s Community Health Informatics Lab. For more information about the organization and its research, please visit the project website here.

Grants

Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program—Research in Early Careers Development: Families, Illness and Information: A Longitudinal, Ethnographic Study, Institute of Museum and Library Sciences: $601,834

 

The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences' Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program supports efforts to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians and the faculty who will prepare them for careers in library science. It also supports grants for research related to library education and library staffing needs, curriculum development, and continuing education and training.