Struggles, strengths, and strategies : an online ethnographic study of self-management of Type 1 Diabetes

Rayan, Salma and Dörfler, Viktor and Lennon, Marilyn (2020) Struggles, strengths, and strategies : an online ethnographic study of self-management of Type 1 Diabetes. In: BAM 2020: 34th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management, 2020-09-02 - 2020-09-04, Cloud.

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Online support groups, resources, social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and illness blogs have recently emerged as popular media for patients, their caregivers and health care professionals. Online health resources play an important and supporting role in many people’s everyday lives. This paper presents an online ethnographic case study which aims to understand how diabetes online communities (DOC) influence diabetes self-management among people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Research examining the impact of diabetes online communities and their relationship to diabetes self-management among patients with T1D is rarely found in the literature. Very little is well understood about how diabetes online communities help in promoting improved diabetes self-management behaviors. The paper also discusses the methodological considerations of online ethnography in the context of diabetes self-management of people with T1D within diabetes online communities. Through the presentation of study, the paper will highlight some of the main challenges, tensions, ethical dilemmas, and triumphs that occur when using online ethnography in this specific context. Moreover, this paper highlights the iterative key decision points when using online ethnographic methods including population identification, researcher involvement, data management, sampling considerations, and reporting procedures in order to advance the use of this unique and innovative methodology for studying online behaviors for managing health conditions.