Public arenas methodology: Engaging with societal health conceptualizations

Within the Pacific context, qualitative methods of data collection such as individual interviews, focus group interviews and talanoa are well utilized.  Another increasingly popular method of data collection is the analysis of media discourse 

Local news media play an essential role in the dissemination of health-related information.  Women, indigenous and rural communities rate media as their main source of information on Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), above that of information received from medical practitioners. 

A framework for media discourse analysis is framing:  Media framing is a selection process, whereby an event is problematized and related to other events in the world, made into an issue from a particular viewpoint, with a cause, effect, possible solutions and quite often has moral judgments implicitly or explicitly associated with it.  Framing is therefore an important tool for taking complex issues and anchoring these issues within the audience’s underlying schemas.  

How an event is presented in media influences the manner in which the audience perceives and behaves towards the event.  Extant literature demonstrates the impact news frames have on audience’ interpretations, recollections, attitudes, evaluations and decision making on national issues and policies.  Hence, close examination of media’s health framing provides an important means of engaging with societal knowledge, attitudes and behaviors around health and such studies have implications for health education, policy developments and health governance laws.  


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Farzana Gounder
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