RESEARCH ARTICLE


Can Contextualization Increase Understanding During Man-Machine Communication? A Theory-Driven Study



L.L Alpay*, 1, J Verhoef1, 2, D Te’eni3, H Putter4, P.J Toussaint5, J.H.M Zwetsloot-Schonk1
1 Clinical Informatics Group, Department of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Department of Physical Therapy, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands
3 Faculty of Management Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
4 Medical Statistics Group, Department of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
5 Department of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway


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© Alpay et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/), which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Clinical Informatics Group, Department of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands; E-mail: l.l.alpay@lumc.nl


Abstract

The Internet offers unlimited possibilities for finding health information. However, the user is often faced with the problem of understanding it. Contextualization has a role to play in enhancing the user’s comprehension. We report on a study which addresses this issue, using a theoretical model of communication whose central theme is that of context. A randomized controlled experimental design was chosen, using as a test-bed the website SeniorGezond we had previously developed. The study was composed of a pre-test, the intervention with the website and a post-test. Participants (n=40) were randomly assigned to exposure or no exposure to contextualization with the website. Results show that contextualization increases understanding for non-knowledgeable users. Furthermore, the participant’s cognitive style was found to be a significant factor on understanding. We also found that participants bring their own contexts such as social context and psychological context to support their understanding.

Keywords: Internet, communication, consumer health information, contextualization of information, information retrieval.