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A grounded theory study of the process of accessing information on the World Wide Web by people with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Cynthia S Blodgett, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this grounded theory study was to examine the process by which people with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) access information on the web. Recent estimates include amateur sports and recreation injuries, non-hospital clinics and treatment facilities, private and public emergency department visits and admissions, providing approximately 3.8 million MTBIs annually (CDC, 2007c). Equal access has gained attention of policy-makers in both disability rights and web development worlds. Inequity on the web currently exists for all individuals with disabilities, including a growing population of MTBI survivors.^ In this study, both the Glaser and Strauss and Strauss and Corbin models of the Grounded Theory research tradition informed data analysis. Nine MTBI survivors were interviewed as they visited websites. Data analysis provided five core themes. MTBI Users: (a) have personal preferences about how content is organized and positioned; (b) finds that colors and images, including those applied to text, impacts attempts to access and comprehend information; (c) chooses to either react or respond to initial interaction; (d) encounters circumstances that impact success; and (e) is surrounded by circumstances that impact technology or the web. A common theme weaving through four of these five (number 5 excluded) are informed by the MTBI User's emotionality, that is, the role of the User's emotions such as frustration of pleasure to create a pleasing or dissatisfying experience.^ The information access process that emerged from this study includes three stages: User Meets the Web, User Assesses Page, and User Persists. In each stage, the User may either continue or exit the page depending on interference of emotionality or of persistence. If the User successfully passes through all three stages, the desired information has been accessed and the User may either exit the web or begin the process again with a new page. ^

Subject Area

Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Technology of|Information Science|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Blodgett, Cynthia S, "A grounded theory study of the process of accessing information on the World Wide Web by people with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3311253.