Health Communication and New Media


Course Objective

Students will familiarise themselves with the ways in which patients,
caregivers, and health organisations are linked together in online
Students will familiarise themselves with theorical notions that
emphasize the value of patient experiences and their illness narratives;
Students are able to analyse online illness narratives with the help of
discourse analytic methods;
Students will familiarise themselves with challenges health
organisations face in determining the value of illness narratives.

Course Content

This course aims to familiarise students with the changing social
context in which patients increasingly search for and share their health
experiences online. As part of their online presence, health
organisations have also adopted different approaches in meeting
patients' needs. In this course, students work with a pre-given dataset
of illness narratives posted on differrent platforms. Based on a
thorough reading of research on illness narratives, students analyse
this dataset using discourse analytic methods. Specifically, students
conduct a narrative analysis followed by a more in-depth linguistic

Hence, with this course students learn to identify the structural and
linguistic characteristics of illness narratives. Moreover, students
learn about the challenges organisations face when determining the value
of these narratives and how to incorporate them them on their plaforms.

Teaching Methods

Every week there is a lecture and an interactive work meeting (4 hours
per week in totall)

Method of Assessment

In week 1 – 6 we meet for lectures and work meetings to familiarise
ourselves with the central theoretical notions this course draws on, and
explore the dataset we will work with during this course. During this
course, students will be in charge of preparing the meetings.

Presentation of research carried out (25%)
Final research paper (75%)
The final grade should not be below 5.5, and the graded presentation
should not be below 5.0.

Entry Requirements

Students with an interest in language as it relates to health
communication and new media; A sufficient receptive and productive
proficiency in English; at least two years of experience with the use of
English at Higher Educational level.


List of articles and book chapters (consult the course manual),
available via VU Library.

Target Audience

MA students Communication and Information Studies; MA students Health
Sciences; MA students Communication Science; Research MA students
Humanities (Linguistics).

Additional Information

Presence at work meetings, during presentations, and data sessions is
mandatory because you will receive feedback on parts of your research
project. You will be asked to leave the course when you are absent at 2
or more (work) meetings.

Students in the Research Master programme should realise that we expect
slightly more from them in terms of the quality of their research/ the
level of their argumentation/ the depth of their understanding when
conducting their analysis. These expectations will be made explicit and
papers/ exams will be graded accordingly.

Recommended background knowledge

Experience with qualitative research methods, particularly research
conducted with discourse analytic methods.

General Information

Course Code L_NCMACIW014
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs
Examiner dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs
Teaching Staff dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: