Please help our research on the use of online health forums

Hi everyone,

My name is Hanmei. I am a researcher at the University of Melbourne in Australia and currently working on a project investigating the use of online health forums. The aim of the study is to verify whether medical conditions can affect the use of online health forums. Drawn from the literature and findings from our previous research, we hypothesise that patients with minor and non-chronic illnesses are more likely to engage in an information-centred strategy while patients with severe and chronic illnesses are more likely to engage in a people-centred strategy. If the hypothesis is supported, the finding from this study can potentially advise the management of online health forums to strategically direct their resource to render more targeting service, based on different types of medical conditions. That is why we need people from a wide range of medical background and Parkinson's disease is one type of conditions that we are looking for.

We are very interested in learning about your opinions and experience. We would like to invite voluntary participants:

- who are patients or care givers,

- have visited Parkinson's UK forum in the past 7 days,

to complete a 30-minute online survey. Participants will be asked about their perception of the message and the person that they have the best memory of during their most recent visit to the forum. All participants who complete the survey will have a chance to win one out of four $50 gift cards of their choice (as long as I can purchase online), as our way to say thank you.

This study has been approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee (#1238574). For more information, please visit To access the survey, please visit

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at at

If you know someone who fit the criteria and would like to participate, please forward the message or the links above.

You can indicate whether you would like to receive a copy of the findings and you will receive an email from us approximately March or April next year.

Thank you very much for your time and support!

This message has been approved by the Administration of Parkinson's UK forum.

Warm regards,

Hanmei Fan
PhD Candidate
Department of Computer and Information Systems
University of Melbourne
I am replying to this mainly to give it a kick into the 'most recent' list

I completed this interesting survey form the other day.

Hi elegant fowl,

Thank you so much for your generous support!! I'm glad that you think the survey interesting. That means a lot for me personally:astonished:
Thank everyone very much for reading the recruiting invitation. Also, I want to extend my gratitude to those who have taken time to complete the survey. At this moment, I still need a couple of more participants so if you haven't done it, please take a bit time to help us. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I really appreciate your generous support and help!:grin:

What is an online health forum?
I have passed your question to Hanmei. We'll let you know when she gets back to us.

Hi Leyther,

Thanks for the question. Online forums, also known as online communities, message boards, bulletins, is a type of text-based system where the communication is asynchronous (different from instant message such as MSN and Yahoo messenger) and posting is displayed in the order of arrival. So whatever arrives last will be on the top of the list, unless someone has higher right to make it sticky. It is different from Q&A sites. From the social perspective, online forums is interested-focused, different from social networking sites such as Facebook which is ego-centric. The shared interest of online health forums is health/medical related issues. Of course, the term health can be quite generic, from fitness, diet to disease and treatment, depending on how the site position itself. This site, Parkinson's UK fits the definition from both technical and social aspects, and thus it is an example of online health forum. Hope I explain clearly.

Hi everyone,

Thank everyone who have read and participated in the study. We're at the last stage of data collection and the survey will be closed on Nov. 30. If you just saw the invitation and are interested in the research, you still have time to partake. For further questions, please contact me at [u] at[/u]

I truly appreciate everyone's support and help. Once the study is done, I'll email the findings to those who request it. Thank you very much for your generous support! :grin:

Hi everyone,

I came back to update the outcome of the research I conducted last November. I finally finished the study and a study summary can be downloaded at If you have any feedback or comment, please feel free to contact me or leave your thought at the commenting area on the website. If you are interested in my research, please stay tune and check out my future studies later. Thank you very much for your generous support! I'm very grateful:)

p.s. For participants who requested a copy of the result, I will email a copy to you very shortly.