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A formative evaluation of online information to support abortion access in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/01/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health
Issue number1
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)32-37
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate web-based information on accessing abortion services retrieved through internet searches in different jurisdictions from the perspective of service users. To provide a formative evaluative mechanism for enabling user-focused design of abortion access information web pages.

DESIGN: Web searches were conducted in three countries-England, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland-using two search engines in the summer of 2016. Four search terms were used and the first two pages of results were analysed. The perspective of someone seeking abortion services was used. Sources were evaluated using a five-item tool combining user-based indicators identified in other instruments and a question on jurisdictional accuracy.

RESULTS: A total of 619 web pages were retrieved through initial searches, 83 of which related to accessing services; 22 pages were retrieved from the Republic of Ireland, 31 from Northern Ireland, and 30 from England. Fewer than a third (n=31) were judged as good or excellent by the tool. The jurisdictional relevancy of information retrieved varied; almost half of all results in each country provided information that was either inaccurate within or irrelevant to the jurisdiction where the search took place.

CONCLUSIONS: If online information is to support abortion access, the circumstances and perspective of the user requires more attention. Designers of abortion information pages online need to ensure that information about access is relevant to the jurisdiction in which users are based.