Precious Information: Getting Interpretable, Actionable Health Communications Data

Heather Lanthorn, Corrina Moucheraud, Ryan Sheely

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Doing high-quality health communications requires high-quality data, both to describe information environments and diets and as outcomes for program evaluations that seek to change them and the behaviors they foster. When we understand where people gather information, what they learn there, and how it encourages them to act, we can better diagnose where to focus energy and resources—for example, whether to amplify high-quality sources, address low-quality information, or fill information voids with actionable ideas. Too often, however, researchers collect data in ways that conflate the sources of information, the channels through which information is communicated, and the content of that information. This thwarts opportunities to identify specific problems and opportunities. We call for conceptual precision to make good use of respondents’ time, to be good stewards of funders’ money, and to effectively address the large challenges we face in encouraging protective, pro-social health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-408
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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