A content analysis of internet health rumors

Wen Ling Lo, Ming Hsin Phoebe Chiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study used content analysis method to investigate Internet health rumors on Rumor Breaker, specifically on the characteristics of content and format, the similarities and differences by themes, and the comparison of health information and health rumors. The results of the study indicated that the most common theme of health rumors is health and prevention information. The health rumors commonly described the influence of "particular behavior" and "specific food or appliances" on one's health; also most of the health rumors didn't specifically mention when or where the events happened. To make the information more persuasive, the health rumors provide "statement from professional" and "personal experience" as evidence and proof. 30% of the health rumors would describe the events in first person narrative. Half of the health rumors are set to come from doctors and one's personal, family and friends' experience. It's much familiar to the receivers by narrating the event or reporting the event as news. The characteristics of all themes of the health rumors are similar to the characteristics of all rumors under investigation. Also, there are less different characteristics between the verified information and the rumors. This study hopes to provide a guide for verifying health information, and to support health promotion and education through literacy in identifying rumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-31
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Educational Media and Library Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Consumer health information
  • Content analysis
  • Health rumors
  • Rumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Information Systems
  • Archaeology
  • Library and Information Sciences


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