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Source Representation in the Communication of Childhood Immunisation

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This study conducted a qualitative semiotic analysis of 36 images that appeared on www.google.com and www.yahoo.com. The ultimate objective is to reveal source representation and fear appeals in online images to see what information is being provided to the decision-makers in immunisation behaviour. Drawing on principles of visual literacy theory, the authors looked for important themes regarding who is being represented and how information is being portrayed through the images. This analysis revealed three key findings: online images are rife with information presented or supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other governmental agencies, and views from healthcare professionals; images displayed a strong use of both high and low fear appeals (although intent to support or oppose immunisations was most often undetermined) and a high use of gain frames in support of immunisations; and the use of graphs and charts, consisting of the CDC's recommended immunisation schedule, was a dominant theme in images from both online search engines.
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Keywords: Childhood; Health Communication; Immunisation; Media; Semiotics; Visual Literacy Theory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 3, 2015

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