Methodological diversity to reach patients along the margins, in the shadows, and on the cutting edge

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Mar;82(3):292-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.12.020. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


Objective: There is extensive research on novel uses of visual and social media to disseminate health information, but fewer researchers have considered how to use new communication channels to listen to health care consumers and gather data for research purposes.

Methods: Current statistics and literature were reviewed to assess potential uses of interactive and visual media for health communication data collection.

Results: This essay examines the topic of methodological diversity by offering a few examples from current literature and practice on how interactive media can be more fully utilized to engage with research participants, discover appropriate research questions, and collect quantitative and qualitative health communication data.

Conclusion: Social networks, mobile-based technology, photovoice, and microblogging have potential benefits for collecting patient feedback for research, but there are also limitations of using technology-based collection methods.

Practical implications: Researchers should explore advantages and barriers for using interactive technology to access marginalized populations.

MeSH terms

  • Health Communication / methods*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Mass Media*
  • Patients / psychology
  • Research Design*
  • Social Environment