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Developing a Tool for Assessing the Process of Seeking Health Information: Online Think-Aloud Method

Alhejaili, Asim; Wharrad, Heather; Windle, Richard

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Asim Alhejaili

Professor of E-Learning and Health Informatics

Professor of Digital Learning


Nursing students can access massive amounts of online health data to drive cutting-edge evidence-based practice in clinical placement, to bridge the theory–practice gap. This activity requires investigation to identify the strategies nursing students apply to evaluate online health information. Online Think-Aloud sessions enabled 14 participants to express their cognitive processes in navigating various educational resources, including online journals and databases, and determining the reliability of sources, indicating their strategies for information-seeking, which helped to create this scoring system. Easy access and user convenience were clearly the instrumental factors in this behavior, which has troubling implications for the lack of use of higher-quality resources (e.g., from peer-reviewed academic journals). The identified challenges encountered during resource access included limited skills in the critical evaluation of information credibility and reliability, signaling a requirement for improved information literacy skills. Participants acknowledged the importance of evidence-based, high-quality information, but faced numerous barriers, such as restricted access to professional and specialty databases, and a lack of academic skills training. This paper develops and critiques a Performative Tool for assessing the process of seeking health information using an online Think-Aloud method, and explores factors and strategies contributing to evidence-based health information access and utilization in clinical practice, aiming to provide insight into individuals’ information-seeking behaviors in online health contexts.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 13, 2024
Online Publication Date May 17, 2024
Publication Date May 17, 2024
Deposit Date May 20, 2024
Publicly Available Date May 20, 2024
Journal Healthcare
Electronic ISSN 2227-9032
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 10
Article Number 1039
Public URL
Publisher URL


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