HILJClub – Novel insights into views towards H1N1 during the 2009 Pandemic: a thematic analysis of twitter data

This edition of HILJ Club has been prepared by:

Catherine McLaren. LKS Development Manager; Library & Knowledge Services and Technology Enhanced Learning, HEE Midlands and East. @cmmclaren

HILJ Club is a intended as a simple way for people to do a bit of CPD by engaging with articles published in HILJ.  HILJ is the journal of the Health Libraries Group of CILIP and all members have access.  Working with Wiley we should be able to open articles up to all for a month around the discussion.  The article selected this time is Open Access which makes this simpler.

The plan remains to pick an article to be discussed from each issue of HILJ. The organising group (Alan Fricker, Catherine McLaren, Morag Clarkson, Lisa Burscheidt, Tom Roper) have picked articles thus far but in future people would be welcome to volunteer to host.  At present articles are hosted on peoples blogs but we may set up a platform at some point.  Generally the host will offer some questions as prompts and then the discussion can go where interest takes it.

Over to Catherine…

#HILJClub, CPD for library staff, especially those interested in health. This time around I got to choose the article we are looking at.

Ahmen, W., Bath, P. A., Sbaffi, L and Demartin, G. (2019) Novel insights into views towards H1N1 during the 2009 Pandemic: a thematic analysis of twitter data. Health Info Libr J, 36: 60-72. doi:10.1111/hir.12247

Background

Infectious disease outbreaks have the potential to cause a high number of fatalities and are a very serious public health risk.

Objectives

Our aim was to utilise an indepth method to study a period of time where the H1N1 Pandemic of 2009 was at its peak.

Methods

A data set of n = 214 784 tweets was retrieved and filtered, and the method of thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results

Eight key themes emerged from the analysis of data: emotion and feeling, health related information, general commentary and resources, media and health organisations, politics, country of origin, food, and humour and/or sarcasm.

Discussion

A major novel finding was that due to the name ‘swine flu’, Twitter users had the belief that pigs and pork could host and/or transmit the virus. Our paper also considered the methodological implications for the wider field of library and information science as well as specific implications for health information and library workers.

Conclusion

Novel insights were derived on how users communicate about disease outbreaks on social media platforms. Our study also provides an innovative methodological contribution because it was found that by utilising an indepth method it was possible to extract greater insight into user communication.

Questions

What? What do you think of this article? What do you think of the research methods? Is there something else that you would have liked to have seen included in the article?

So what? Does this article encourage you to use twitter as the bases for research? Do you think this method could or should be used to research other areas of the profession?

Now what? What areas of the profession would you be interested in researching in a similar way? Will you change your practice as a result of reading this article? If so, how? If not, why not?

 

This article came to my attention because over the last year library and knowledge service staff within the NHS in England have been introduced to health literacy. How they can support NHS staff understand and use health literacy to support the public. So that the public’s health decisions are health literate. The health literacy challenge is already large and anything the brings stress, fear or anxiety to a person reduces their health literacy. How much more so would this be in a large international public health emergency like Swine Flu or Ebola. The writers acknowledge that twitter can be useful in this area; ‘This is because common misunderstandings and key questions relating to health can be rapidly identified and correct information can be consequently disseminated’.

Let’s focus on the questions.

What?

This article interested me for a number of reasons including that Twitter is a social media tool that a lot of library staff use. It is used both personally and professionally but are we aware of how it can be used as a research tool? This article looks at ‘data driven qualitative insights into tweets relating to’ an event of international importance; in this case infectious disease outbreaks and particularly the 2009 Swine flu outbreak.

The article suggests ‘that the methodology applied in this study can be adapted for the analysis of discussions surrounding libraries as well as the profession as a whole’.  Therefore, it is important to judge how robust this methodology is and how and when it might be reproduced in other parts of the profession.

The research question asked within the article was “What type of information was shared on Twitter during the peak of the 2009 swine Flu Pandemic?”

What comes to mind is how do you define the peak of the 2009 Flu Pandemic. The authors defined it as April 28th and 29th 2009 and that Google Trends showed the highest peak during this period of time. UK government data does not support this, instead showing the week beginning June 15th 2009 as being the peak. Figure 1, Health Protection Agency, UK (2010) Epidemiological report of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the UK. Available at: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140713172844/http://www.hpa.org.uk/Publications/InfectiousDiseases/Influenza/1010EpidemiologicalreportofpandemicH1N12009inUK/ [Accessed 29/5/2019].

Data from Australia also doesn’t support the idea that the end of April 2009 was the peak of the pandemic, Figure 4 puts it at the middle to end of July 2009.  Department of Health, AU (2010) Annual Report of the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme, 2009. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdi4104-j [Accessed 29/5/2019].

The World Health Organisation declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on 25th April 2009. WHO (2010) Evolution of a Pandemic A(N1N1) 2009, April 2009 – August 2010. Available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/78414/9789241503051_eng.pdf;jsessionid=FC3A8C2A60656D1C3597D76F02F03173?sequence=1 [Accessed 29/5/2019] and a phrase 5 pandemic (wide spread human infection) on 29th April 2009. This maybe why the dates in April where chosen as being the height of the outbreak, as this was when it was high in people minds and online google searches were being done, but it was not the clinical peak of the outbreak as shown by UK, Australian or WHO government surveillance data.

The original number of tweets under review were 214,784 and it was reasonable to filter down these tweets first by removing identical tweets and then near identical tweets at a 60% threshold. After this a 10% sample of the remaining tweets were taken (n=7679).

Eight themes across the study emerge from the two days of data. These were than used along with Twitter’s advance search feature to see if the themes were present across the outbreak of January 2009 to November 2009.

Going forward it would be interesting to see if the themes highlighted in the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak also goes across other worldwide health emergencies such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak (or other national health emergencies). It would also be interesting to see where the interest in an outbreak appears to peak on Twitter or google compared to clinical data around a disease peak. How this data might then be used by governments and health organisations to disseminate information to a worried public would also be of interest.

So What?

This article does highlight to me how twitter and possible other social media platforms can be used to research public perceptions. Linked into concerns around fake news it is important for library staff to understand the positive and negative issues of social media and that research can give us insights into how it is used on an international and more local level. I could see how this type of research could be used to investigate other parts of the profession and especially how it might work for areas within health librarianship. What would have been helpful is a more detailed methods section, but I think there is enough information to give a way forward.

Now What?

I think the work around health literacy within the NHS in England may well be an interesting area to undertake this type of research. Finding out how library staff are reacting to this work, also interested organisations and how members of the public are also interacting with this work. Pulling out the themes of these interactions would allow for more nuanced support as the work goes forward. Taking this research forward would rely on support from the centre around funding and specialist skills which may well be limited in the short term but might be more possible in the medium to long term. We will just have to wait and see.

Catherine McLaren. LKS Development Manager; Library & Knowledge Services and Technology Enhanced Learning, HEE Midlands and East. @cmmclaren


Comments are open!

 

HILJ CPD reading Volume 35 No 3 – Developing a generic tool to routinely measure the impact of health libraries

Welcome to the second experimental online reading group aimed at encouraging discussion of interesting articles in HILJ.  The first attempt took place around Volume 35 No 2 on CILIP Social Link (link may require CILIP login and may not take you to the right place).  Unfortunately we found SocialLink did not really offer quite what was needed so future editions will rove across any ones blog that cares to host.

I raised the possibility of having a regular discussion on articles from HILJ at HLG2018 having muttered about it for some time and as others expressed an interest (in particular Lisa Burscheidt, Morag Clarkson, Catherine Mclaren and Tom Roper) here we are.

As an HLG Member you should have access to HILJ via the link below https://archive.cilip.org.uk/health-libraries-group/health-information-libraries-journal/access-health-information-libraries-journal-hilj though many have it in a Wiley bundle and that maybe easier! The article this time is OpenAccess anyway so should be straightforward.

The idea is that an article will be selected from each issue to be discussed. The group have picked an article but there might be a vote in future or we may carry on picking a favourite by some other means (perhaps the host blogger gets to choose). The intention is to select articles with practical applications. We will offer some questions as prompts but the discussion can go where interest takes it.

The article selected this time is:

Developing a generic tool to routinely measure the impact of health libraries

Stephen Ayre, Alison Brettle, Dominic Gilroy, Douglas Knock, Rebecca Mitchelmore, Sophie Pattison, Susan Smith, Jenny Turner

Pages: 227-245 | First Published: 18 July 2018

Abstract
Background

Health libraries contribute to many activities of a health care organisation. Impact assessment needs to capture that range of contributions.

Objectives

To develop and pilot a generic impact questionnaire that: (1) could be used routinely across all English NHS libraries; (2) built on previous impact surveys; and (3) was reliable and robust.

Methods

This collaborative project involved: (1) literature search; (2) analysis of current best practice and baseline survey of use of current tools and requirements; (3) drafting and piloting the questionnaire; and (4) analysis of the results, revision and plans for roll out.

Findings

The framework selected was the International Standard Methods And Procedures For Assessing The Impact Of Libraries (ISO 16439). The baseline survey (n = 136 library managers) showed that existing tools were not used, and impact assessment was variable. The generic questionnaire developed used a Critical Incident Technique. Analysis of the findings (n = 214 health staff and students), plus comparisons with previous impact studies indicated that the questionnaire should capture the impact for all types of health libraries.

Conclusions

The collaborative project successfully piloted a generic impact questionnaire that, subject to further validation, should apply to many types of health library and information services.


I picked this article as this has been a hot topic for some time now.  I expect many of us will have experience and views on the generic impact questionnaire so there should be useful discussion.  I have not read the article before selecting it!

Starter Questions –
What? What do you think of this article / the generic impact questionnaire / etc?
So what? Does this change your view of the tool?  What changes might we want to see with the tool?
Now what? Are you going to do anything with it?

The next edition of the HILJ CPD Reading experiment (name suggestions welcome! #HILJClub perhaps?) will appear when volume 35 no 4 appears and be hosted by Lisa Burscheidt over at That Black Book.

Look forward to the discussion!  The comments box is further down in this template than I realised so do scroll down to reach it!