Department of Scandinavian Languages

Health Literacy and Knowledge Formation in the Information Society

About the project

Traditionally, health care institutions have been the main providers of information about health and illness. In today's society, though, people search for information in various ways, not least on the Internet. Sometimes patients are also active information providers themselves, e.g. in blogs and discussion forums. Knowing how to find, evaluate and use information is a crucial part of modern health literacy.

This project investigates how pregnant women and their partners navigate through the resources offered by care givers, search engines, medical websites, private blogs, online social networks and patient organizations after receiving a pre-natal diagnosis of a congenital heart defect in their fetus. We study how they experience communication with health care institutions, how they search, value and produce information and how they build knowledge about the heart defect and what it means to them. This is a linguistic study and the main methods used are ethnography, conversation analysis and multimodal discourse analysis.

Financing and collaborations

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (2015-2017) and carried out at the universities of Uppsala, Södertörn and Stockholm, Sweden. We have a close collaboration with researchers at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences at Uppsala Universitet and with medical professionals at the Academic Hospital in Uppsala and at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm.

Researchers