Internet cancer support groups: a feminist analysis.
Internet Cancer Support Groups (ICSGs) are an emerging form of support group on Internet specifically for cancer patients. Previous studies have indicated the effectiveness of ICSGs as a research setting or a data-collection method. Yet recent studies have also indicated that ICSGs tend to serve highly educated, high-income White males who tend to be at an early stage of cancer. In this article, a total of 317 general ICSGs and 229 ethnic-specific ICSGs searched through Google.com, Yahoo.com, Msn.com, AOL.com, and ACOR.org are analyzed from a feminist perspective. The written records of group discussions and written memos by the research staff members were also analyzed using content analysis. The idea categories that emerged about these groups include (a) authenticity issues; (b) ethnicity and gender issues; (c) intersubjectivity issues; and (d) potential ethical issues. The findings suggest that (a) researchers adopt multiple recruitment strategies through various Internet sites and/or real settings; (b) researchers raise their own awareness of the potential influences of the health-related resources provided by ICSGs and regularly update their knowledge related to the federal and state standards and/or policies related to ICSGs; and (c) researchers consider adopting a quota-sampling method.
Im, E-O; Chee, W; Tsai, H-M; Lin, L-C; Cheng, C-Y
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