Anxiety, Knowledge and Help: A Model for How Black and White College Students Search For HIV/AIDS Information on the Internet


Kim SmithFollow

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1-21-2011


Using the 'think aloud' protocol, which allows for the collection of data in real time, the researcher audio taped comments from 13 white college students from a predominately white university in the Southeastern United States and 15 black students from a predominately black university, as they explained how they searched for HIV/AIDS information on the Internet. A grounded theory analysis of the tapes revealed a three-stage model that students progressed through as they searched for HIV/AIDS information on the Internet. That model also revealed that all of the white students searched for general information about HIV/AIDS on the Internet, while all black students searched for general and specific information about how the disease affected the African-American community. Eighty percent of students regardless of race did not know how to properly search for online health information. The researcher discusses the need for online health information literacy training, the theories that might explain why black students searched the way that they did, and the challenges to providing culturally-sensitive online health information literacy training for African-Americans who have been historically suspicious of the United State’s health care system.