Title

Trust-Building in a Patient Forum: The Interplay of Professional and Personal Expertise

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Abstract

Online discussion forums for patients offer the benefits of community but the risks of misinformation. A physician-moderated forum may help to mitigate this tension. How do both the professional expertise of a physician moderator and the personal, experiential expertise of patients contribute to trust in a forum? A rhetorical analysis of a year of postings in an online Parkinson’s community reveals that both forms of expertise were trusted, demonstrating the possibility for them to complement each other. This study illustrates the broader ways trust is established in patient communities and offers implications for technical communicators as forum designers or moderators.

Publication Title

Journal of Technical Writing and Communication

DOI

10.1177/0047281618776222

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