Searching for health: the topography of the first page [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 13 (3):227-240 (2011)
Members of the lay public are turning increasingly to the internet to answer health-related questions. Some authors suggest that the widespread availability of online health information has dislodged medical knowledge from its traditional institutional base and enabled a growing role for alternative or previously unrecognized health perspectives and ‘lay health expertise’. Others have argued, however, that the organization of information retrieved from influential search engines, particularly Google, has merely intensified mainstream perspectives because of the growing consolidation of the internet with traditional, commercial media sources. In this paper we describe an analysis of ‘first page’ results retrieved through Google searches about several common health concerns, each of which has been the subject of controversy as a result of uncertain aetiology, diagnoses, outcomes and/or contested approaches to treatment. Our findings suggest that the online search tactics used by most lay health information seekers produce sources of information that, for the most part, reflect mainstream biomedical discourses, often linked to commercial interests, rather than a plurality of voices that offer a variety of perspectives and resources. We discuss the implications for health-interested internet searchers who fail to look beyond the ‘first page’
Keywords Consumer health information   Health information-seeking   Internet   Medicalization   Search engine   Social construction of health
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10676-011-9272-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,433
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Dag Elgesem (2008). Search Engines and the Public Use of Reason. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (4):233-242.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jonny Anomaly (2011). Public Health and Public Goods. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):251-259.
Katharine Kolcaba (1994). Health Maintenance as Responsibility for Self. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 1 (2):19-24.
Jozsef Kovács (1989). Concepts of Health and Disease. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (3):261-267.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

9 ( #439,581 of 1,924,993 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,001 of 1,924,993 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.