Reference : Competing for space in an already crowded market: a mixed methods study of why an onl...
Scientific journals : Article
Human health sciences : Public health, health care sciences & services
Competing for space in an already crowded market: a mixed methods study of why an online community of practice (CoP) for alcohol harm reduction failed to generate interest amongst the group of public health professionals at which it was aimed
Korjonen, Maria Helena mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Implementation Science
BioMed Central
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
United Kingdom
[en] communities of practice ; public health ; knowledge management
[en] Background: Improving mechanisms for knowledge translation (KT) and connecting decision-makers to each other
and the information and evidence they consider relevant to their work remains a priority for public health. Virtual
communities of practices (CoPs) potentially offer an affordable and flexible means of encouraging connection and
sharing of evidence, information and learning among the public health community in ways that transgress
traditional geographical, professional, institutional and time boundaries. The suitability of online CoPs in public
health, however, has rarely been tested. This paper explores the reasons why particular online CoP for alcohol harm
reduction hosted by the UK Health Forum failed to generate sufficient interest from the group of public health
professionals at which it was aimed.
Methods: The study utilises online web-metrics demonstrating a lack of online activity on the CoP. One hundred and
twenty seven responses to an online questionnaire were used to explore whether the lack of activity could be explained
by the target audience’s existing information and evidence practices and needs. Qualitative interviews with 10 members
describe in more detail the factors that shape and inhibit use of the virtual CoP by those at which it was targeted.
Results: Quantitative and qualitative data confirm that the target audience had an interest in the kind of information and
evidence the CoP was set up to share and generate discussion about, but also that participants considered themselves to
already have relatively good access to the information and evidence they needed to inform their work. Qualitative data
revealed that the main barriers to using the CoP were a proliferation of information sources meaning that participants
preferred to utilise trusted sources that were already established within their daily routines and a lack of time to engage
with new online tools that required any significant commitment.
Researchers ; Professionals

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