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Dr Roberta Bernardi awarded the British Academy Grant

11 March 2019

Dr Roberta Bernardi has been awarded a British Academy Grant to work on her new project "Epistemic responsibility and the sociomateriality of epistemic practices in a diabetes online community".

Online health communities provide health information and peer-support to people with a chronic illness and compensate for the lack of personalised care in the health service. Yet, when it is not supported by evidence, user-generated content (UGC) of online communities can present health-related risks.

A key problem that this research will address is why some users more than others are less critical in evaluating UGC. This research will investigate the “epistemic responsibility” of an online community of people with diabetes.

Epistemic responsibility concerns our desire and actions to form a justified true belief. Through a sociomaterial perspective, this research will examine how the features of the community website influence individual users’ and their community’s ability to evaluate UGC responsibly. Findings will increase patients’ and healthcare professionals’ awareness of the benefits as well as limitations of UGC and advise on how online communities can encourage a critical deliberation of contrasting views.

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