Timely access to quality healthcare information during an outbreak plays an important role in curtailing its spread. The aim of this study was to investigate the information needs and seeking behavior of the general public in Singapore during the H1N1 pandemic. A pre-tested questionnaire was used for data collection. The convenience snowball sampling method was used and 260 working adults and tertiary-level students participated in this study. The most crucial information needs of a majority of the participants were: symptoms of H1N1, causes of the infection, preventive measures, and possible treatments. Data analysis also revealed that mass media such as television, newspapers, and radio were most frequently used for seeking the needed information. The use of human information sources was also quite high while only a small number of the respondents accessed online news and healthcare websites. About three-quarters of the participants indicated that the gathered information helped them to stay vigilant and take necessary precautionary measures. A major problem identified by the participants in using H1N1 information was the lack of understanding of certain terms used in public communications. This paper suggests certain measures for strengthening health information communication during future outbreaks.
Information Needs; Information Seeking Behavior; N1H1; Swine Flu; Influenza A; Information Sources; Singapore
Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice