Submissions:2022/Consumer health on Wikipedia: results of a qualitative study

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2022.


Consumer health on Wikipedia: results of a qualitative study


Saturday Longer Sessions

Type of session:



This presentation reports the findings of a qualitative study that investigated the experiences of health consumers who use Wikipedia’s health and medical content. Applying a critical-constructivist approach, the author conducted semi-structured interviews from June to October 2021 asking participants to share a story about a time they used Wikipedia’s health related content. 21 participants were included in data analysis and thematic analysis was conducted with interview transcripts. The author observed three findings. First, that Wikipedia’s health and medical content can be understood as a tool that facilitates health consumers expressions of personal agency. Second, that Wikipedia is a preferred information source due to its familiarity and convenience. Third, that health consumers’ trust in Wikipedia is contextual, conditional, and framed by their personal experiences. This study presents new insights into how health consumers engage with Wikipedia’s health and medical content. More research is necessary to off richer insights into the consumer health information behaviour across of Wikipedia users diverse populations.

Academic Peer Review option:

Author name:

Denise A. Smith

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

McMaster University

Estimated time:

15 minutes

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes: Annual Meetings of the Medical Library Association and the Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter of the Medical Libraries Association

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

Yes. Lightning talk is fine.