March 9, 2022, by mszrm4

MedEd Scholar carries out research around medical misinformation on social media – apply on Twitter!


Can you help with one of our scholar’s research project on medical misinformation on social media?


As a novel virus, Covid-19 has caused a lot of uncertainty for both laypeople and medical professionals. As evidence began to emerge, doctors and other medical professionals have attempted to engage with the public on social media to spread evidence-based strategies for controlling the virus. However, alongside this has been a rise of misinformation, which the World Health Organisation describes as an ‘infodemic’. Even as a junior doctor with some education and practice in evidence-based medicine it can, at times, be hard to cut through the noise and identify what is accurate.

As I saw the uncertainty online, I felt that social media could be a valuable resource for increasing understanding of the virus and how to control it. I also felt that with my medical qualification I had some responsibility to contribute to this. However, when looking for evidence online on how to best approach discussing evidence with the public on social media, I was unable to find any guidance.

Furthermore, I saw senior and well-respected members of the medical community reporting abuse they received. For example, Professor Trisha Greenhalgh from the University of Oxford has discussed on Twitter the extent of personal abuse she has been met with.

Figure 1 – Tweet in which Professor Trisha Greenhalgh from The University of Oxford discusses abuse she faces online.

Seeing this is it was easy to be disheartened, if this was the case for a professor of medicine what would it be like for a junior doctor?

With these things in mind, I decided to focus my master’s degree research project on medical misinformation on social media. I am undertaking a qualitative study investigating misinformation about face masks during the pandemic. I am aiming to recruit both laypeople and medical professionals to take part in interviews about their experience of misinformation about fake masks on social media and would like to hear from everyone no matter their views on the issue.

If you have Twitter and would be interested in taking part then please send a direct message to @MaskStudy. If you have Twitter but would not be able to take part in interviews, then we would be grateful if you could share the recruitment post.

Dr Dan Robinson, MBChB, BMedSci is a current scholar on the Nottingham medical education course and is working on research towards his Masters dissertation. 

Find out more here


Join us on the Nottingham MedEd course:

We are holding a number of ONLINE information sessions for you to find out more – whether you are thinking of applying, or already have an offer of a place:

  • Wednesday 13th April 2022 – 17:00-18:00 GMT
  • Wednesday 11th May 2022 – 12:00-13:00 GMT
  • Wednesday 15th June 2022 – 17:00-18:00 GMT

Please email to apply for a place on one of these events.

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