Evaluation criteria for internet cancer support groups.
Despite positive reports about Internet cancer support groups, studies have rarely addressed how to choose an appropriate Internet cancer support group to conduct research. The purpose of this article was to propose evaluation criteria for selecting Internet cancer support groups from which to recruit research participants. The authors developed proposed criteria while conducting an Internet-based study of cancer pain experience among cancer patients recruited through Internet cancer support groups. During recruitment and data collection, the researchers conducted biweekly discussions about recruitment progress and kept detailed records about issues that arose in the process of identifying, contacting, and announcing the study in Internet cancer support groups. Then, the written records were analyzed using content analysis to develop the evaluation criteria. The evaluation criteria developed were (1) private or public domains, (2) mission and purpose of the Internet cancer support group, (3)target users of the Internet cancer support group, (4) scope of the Internet cancer support group, (5) contents of the Internet cancer support group, (6) logistics for study announcements in the Internet cancer support group, (7) dynamics within the Internet cancer support group, and (8) credibility and authenticity of the owner/administrator of the Internet cancer support group. Because these criteria were developed from experiences gained during only one study, further development and refinement of the evaluation criteria are essential.
Im, E-O; Chee, W; Tsai, H-M; Lim, H-J; Guevara, E; Liu, Y
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