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Google search data as a novel adjunct to patient and public involvement in rheumatology research

Authors
  • Dey, Mrinalini1, 2
  • Zhao, Sizheng Steven1, 2
  • 1 University of Liverpool,
  • 2 Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Rheumatology International
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Oct 19, 2020
Pages
1–9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00296-020-04723-0
PMID: 33074346
PMCID: PMC7571296
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Patient and public involvement is essential in the design and implementation of research studies to ensure research remains relevant and in line with public priorities. Public views on a given area of research may be sought via platforms such as focus groups or surveys. Here, we present the use of an openly available Google search data query tool, which may be used alongside traditional forms of patient and public involvement in research to highlight public perceptions and priorities. We used an online search query tool (“AnswerThePublic.com”) to explore public Google searches relating to “arthritis,” and an exemplar rheumatic disease, “rheumatoid arthritis.” The most common searches relating to these diseases included quality of life, treatment, prognosis, as well as impacts on life, including work. However, they also reveal concerns that may be more difficult to elicit in face-to-face focus groups, such as questions on alcohol consumption in arthritis, and impacts on mental health. Using public search engine data in research, alongside the important traditional methods of patient and public involvement, is a cost-effective and time-efficient method of gauging public views and concerns on a given topic. It may facilitate broad scoping searches of public priorities and help to guide future research questions.

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