Conceptualising health information seeking behaviours and exploratory search: result of a qualitative study

Patrick Cheong Iao Pang, Karin Verspoor, Shanton Chang, Jon Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The Internet has become an important source of health information for many people, including non-medical experts. While much health information is provided through the Internet, such information is often spread across multiple websites and providers. With the decentralised nature of the Internet, people are often unable to access health information at a single point, and thus extra efforts are needed for seeking information with search engines. The information seeking process is a crucial step for obtaining the needed health information. According to prior research, seekers apply an exploratory approach in the information seeking process of health-related topics. Although information seeking behaviours have been studied extensively in past research, few details specifically about information seeking in the health context can be found. This paper reports on a qualitative study that investigates the information needs and behaviours of health information seekers. Based on the results of the study, we present a model conceptualising health information seeking behaviours as well as the characteristics of the exploratory search approach observed in the health information seeking process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer health information
  • Exploratory search
  • Information seeking behaviour
  • Search approach


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