The Journal of the Japanese Association of Health Communication
Vol. 11, No.1


Exploring Research Methodologies for Health Communication in the Next Decade

Takahiro Kiuchi1), Tsuyoshi Okuhara1), Haruka Ueno1), Hiroko Okada1), Hirono Ishikawa2), Shigeru Takanaga3), Takeo Nakayama4), Tomoko Takayama5), Yoko Kawamura6), Mio Kato2)

1) Dep. of Health Communication, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 2) School of Public Health, Teikyo University, 3) Graduate School Letters, Hiroshima University, 4) Dep. of Health Informatics, Graduate School Medicine, Kyoto University, 5) Center for Cancer Control and Information Services, National Cancer Center, 6) Faculty of Cultural Policy and Management, Shizuoka University of Art and Culture

It is important to explore research methodologies for health communication in the next decade because “fruits” of such research are required following its recent recognition as an independent academic field in Japan. Therefore, we adopted this topic as a theme for the 11th Annual Conference of the Japanese Association of Health Communication. We traced the history of the development of human communication, and identified three major research areas for health communication: interpersonal communication, document studies, and moving image studies. Next, we organized three symposiums focused on research methodologies corresponding to these areas. In addition, we asked Professor Masato Ishizaki (Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The University of Tokyo) to give a keynote address. Professor Ishizaki was the best person to overview research methodologies for both expert and non-expert communication, not limited to the health area. We believed that these symposiums and the keynote address were of significant benefit for all participants to guide exploration of their research strategies in the next decade.

Bridging the Gap Between Professionals and Non-professionals in Health Communication

Masato Ishizaki

Interdisciplinary Initiative in Information Studies / Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

This paper examines the assumptions underlying conversation, information, and behavioral change in health communication research, and addresses the problem of bridging the gap between professionals and non-professionals. First, the cognitive model of dialogue is considered for functional and conversation analysis. The potential contributions of this model are evaluated by applying it to the problem of “baby talk.” Second, health and medical information on the Internet is explored with respect to the quality of information and process of information seeking. Third, health literacy in the health promotion model is investigated by examining this concept at the level of interaction between individuals. Finally, the need to explore underlying assumptions is identified as a fundamental drive to deepen the field of health communication research. Ethical approval, which is a crucial step in academic studies, is also discussed with regard to recognized difficulties in international health research collaboration.

Research on interpersonal communication in healthcare

Hirono Ishikawa1), Shigeru Takanaga2), Michie Kawashima3), Ikuko Noro4), Maiko Fujimori5)

1) Teikyo University, 2) Hiroshima University, 3) Kyoto Sangyo University, 4) The Jikei University School of Medicine, 5) National Cancer Center Japan

This paper is a summary report of Symposium I at the 11th Meeting of the Japanese Health Communication Association, titled “Research on interpersonal communication in healthcare.” In this symposium, we presented examples of: 1) a qualitative descriptive study (conversation analysis), 2) a quantitative correlational study (functional analysis: Roter Method of Interaction Process Analysis System [RIAS]), and 3) an intervention study (randomized controlled trial of communication skills training). This was followed by a discussion of challenges in and tips for conducting and publishing empirical studies on interpersonal communication in healthcare. Different research approaches and analysis methods are underpinned by unique paradigms and theoretical frameworks. Mutual understanding of this background is necessary to facilitate interdisciplinary research in this field and collaboration using different research methods.

How we create, evaluate, and deliver documents in health communication

Takeo Nakayama1), Tomoko Takayama2), Yukiko Sakai3), Masayo Hayakawa2), Kyoko Kitazawa4), Tazuko Nishimura5)

1) University of Kyoto, 2) Center for Cancer Control and Information Services, National Cancer Center, 3) Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, 4) Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, 5) Premium Medical English Education Office

The content and quantity of research regarding documents remains insufficient in Japan. In this symposium, four researchers reported various topics related to the research approach used for documents in health communication: readability as a research method; drug information as a tool for facilitating shared decision-making; cancer information representation analysis for patients; and text analyses of newspaper articles and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare minutes concerning the Diovan scandal. Although the interest focus and research theme of each participant might have differed, we shared ideas about a variety of documents, research questions, available document analyses, and views about research approaches for documents through discussion. This stimulating symposium was expected to contribute to further developments in the health information field among people with similar interests and improve our health communication environment.

Creating moving images, analyzing moving images

Mio Kato1), Yoko Kawamura2), Mamoru Ichikawa3), Kiyotaka Watanabe4), Mamoru Ito5)

1) Teikyo University Graduate School of Public Health, 2) Shizuoka University of Art and Culture Faculty of Cultural Policy and Management, 3) Nippon Hoso Kyokai / Japan Broadcasting Corporation, 4) Teikyo University School of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Division of Medical Oncology, 5) Waseda University Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

Television (TV) is a major source of medical and health information for the public, and affects the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of an unspecified number of viewers. TV programs range from non-fiction, such as news reports and documentaries, to entertainment, such as health variety shows and medical dramas. An important theme in health communication research is that the medical and health information handled by specific TV programs has a scientific evidence-based grounding and does not impair trust in medical and health care. However, research on moving images, particularly TV programs, has not yet been established in Japan. This symposium involved lectures on research methods and changes in/issues with moving image content delivered by a TV medical and health program producer, a medical doctor engaged in the evaluation of medical articles from the perspective of medical professionals, and a leading television researcher. We also discussed current issues in the rapidly changing media environment along with future directions.

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