Constructions of power and control in health education/health communication material

Explore constructions of power and control in health education/health communication material

– Consider the implications for health education/health communication policy and practice

Research questions:

– What are the terms under which the population is being informed and what health image is being transmitted by the media?

– How is health knowledge constructed?

– What is the nature of the power structures in health information discussion groups?

– What is the nature of health information that different individuals are willing and able to receive?


Design and Methods:

Different methods will be used for collecting information for this topic. First, thematic interviews on journalists will be done. 20-30 journalists will be interviewed for this study. The journalists will be carefully selected so that they adequately represent the entire journalism profession. The journalists will be selected from those specializing in public health service and medicine and general news editors. The thematic interview will use a combination of open questions and questionnaire interview (Johnson, 1998).

The other method of data collection will be observation. This is where the researcher will observe how health information is delivered to the public and how such information may be distorted by the media of delivery.

The third method of data collection will be from journalistic text. The health journalistic text data will be obtained from health journalistic articles.

Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used to analyse the journalistic texts. The first point of analysis will involve drafting an outline of health journalism topics. After this is done, the texts are analysed based on the ideologies of health that they contain. The next stage involves analysing the texts to determine how the information is constructed and how visual and linguistics have been used to develop meaning of the texts. The data from the thematic interviews will also be analysed using the systematic reviews method. The systematic review will focus on identification and synthesis of the journalistic text relevant to the research questions. This is very crucial to the evidence-based practice (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, 2008). The main issue while analysing these texts is the position of the different actors including nurses, doctors and patients among other possible actors. Are the actors or players active speakers or they do not have power such that they are the objects of speech? While analysing the texts, special emphasis will be placed on the definition of illness and good health (Khan, Kunz, Kleijnen, & Antes, 2003).



What will be measured and Focus of questions for interview

This interview will focus on measuring the amount of information competence within the population.

It is important to note that lack of information competence within some members of the population reduces their ability of interpreting any medical information (Ginman et al., 2003). Health and knowledge are factors that determine the quality of life of an individual. However, not everybody acknowledges the importance of these factors in promoting their social well being. People rarely consider health knowledge as a factor of determining their own health even though there are some health conditions that arise from factors that are within the control of an individual (McGinnis & Foege, 1993). In the modern society, the demand for learning is not enough in itself. Rather, individuals must learn new ways of obtaining information that can help them improve on their personal health.

The interview will focus on the nature of health journalism and discussions on health. The questions will focus on what the texts say about individual health, public health, illness and medicine; and how the texts talk about these issues (Moher, et al, 2007).



Sampling strategy


The study will be set in an environment where the participants will be comfortable to divulge the needed information.


20-30 journalists will be interviewed for this study. The journalists will be carefully selected so that they adequately represent the entire journalism profession. The journalists will be selected from those specializing in public health service and medicine and general news editors.

Sampling technique

A structured sampling of journalistic articles that will be identified through a systematic search will be done. For eligibility, the journals from which the articles will be searched from will need to publish articles regularly, at least once every month (Van Spall, Toren, Kiss & Fowler, 2007). Using the text search work construction of power and control in health education, the different journal databases including NEJM, BMJ, JGIM, Lancet, MEDLINE, AHED, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL were searched for the topic title.


Rationale for Study

The rationale of the study is to determine the extent to which the media supply different forms of medical information to patients and the citizens at large. The media has advanced over the years and now supply the general public with important medical information. The study will therefore hope to determine how the changing media culture has affected individual’s information competencies (Koelen & van den Ban, 2004). In addition, the study will also help determine how this change in culture has had an impact on the power balances and control in the society. This study will therefore be concerned with integrating the changing cultural sphere and the advancement in science and technology. Through the study, citizens will learn to appreciate the importance of changing with the changing times (Ginman et al, 2003).

Due to advancement of technology and development of new media, many important medical information is transmitted from different authorities and sources to users. Depending on how this information may be interpreted, the everyday life of the citizens may be affected by the presence of such information (Sharma & Romas, 2011). There is therefore need for development of more private ways in which medical information may be developed and transmitted to the citizens. Patients’ access and use of information should be analysed and evaluated as this is very relevant to medical journalism. This understanding can help in developing a more holistic approach to illness and good health.



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