My dissertation research explores blogging about chronic illness as both an assertive and disciplinary practice. Blogs serve as public platforms for narratives of personal experience, offering a location to see the patient’s perspective on both having an illness and engaging in public reflection on that experience.
This research seeks to draw out the voice of the patient-blogger on being (or not being) a ‘participatory patient’ in the current culture of medicine that both offers opportunities and sets expectations for patients to be knowledgeable and involved in their treatment.
Research for this project consisted of three phases: an ethnographic content analysis of blogs; a survey of bloggers; and an online discussion with bloggers. This project stemmed from a strong interest in online scholarship, particularly using and developing qualitative research methods and exploring issues such as ethics in online research.