The rise and fall of '': Dilemmas and opportunities when creating online forums to investigate health behaviour

  • Stepney M
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This paper explores the potential dilemmas and opportunities for setting up online discussion forums when undertaking research on health-related behaviour. It draws on the setting up of a website called '' which sought to understand young women's relationship(s) with alcohol and their feelings about drinking and drunkenness. I reflect on how the use of virtual space may allow for more liberated and 'free' talk about sensitive topics in health, yet at the same time may create a voyeuristic and potentially abusive environment. In doing so, I explore the ultimate demise of the website and therefore the potential problems of utilising online methods. I suggest that researchers need to carefully mitigate and negotiate harm when considering such methods, whilst also acknowledging how participants themselves resist and negotiate risk in virtual places. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Health
  • Internet
  • Online
  • Women

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  • Melissa Stepney

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