Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Health promotion in the age of social media: Evaluation of Word Press as a platform for developing postgraduate student skills

Joseph, Elizabeth; Hinga, Alex; Roberts, Kate; Pearce, Matthew; Buckley, Tom; de Viggiani, Nick; Jones, Matthew


Elizabeth Joseph

Alex Hinga

Kate Roberts

Matthew Pearce


Aims: The present study reports on the evaluation of a postgraduate assignment in which students produced a health promotion website. The aim of the study was to examine the application of WordPress as a platform for developing contemporary skills in health promotion practice. Study design: A mixed methods study including the use of focus groups, survey, document analysis and literature review. Place and Duration of Study: A health promotion course as part of a UK-based MSc in Public Health/Environmental Health between September and December 2013. Methodology: Following a pilot development stage, 27 students were supported to produce a WordPress health promotion assignment. These were content and thematically analysed. Students completed a baseline and follow-up questionnaire on digital and health promotion literacy, and self-efficacy. Approximately half the group took part in focus groups to examine students’ perceptions of the assignment. Results: Participants were able to apply the web-based platform to a wide range of health promotion contexts. The central messages were supported through the use of hierarchically organized web-pages; extensive visual, audio-visual and diagrammatic elements; and contextual fields of theory, research and practice. Participants were able to present frameworks for incorporating interactive and dialogical components, but these areas were challenging within the context of the assignment. Questionnaire outcomes suggested group level improvements in the measures. Focus group themes concerned the role of previous experience; motivation; perceived advantages; challenges; help-seeking strategies; perceived benefits; and proposed improvements. Conclusion: Off-the-shelf blog-sites are a promising platform for developing skills in social media and health promotion. The study found good acceptability and feasibility from a student perspective. The assignment offered professional credibility in terms of the development of multi-media presentation, public and professional communication skills. Pedagogically this mode of assignment raises interesting challenges in the assessment of logical thought, critical reasoning and synthesis of argument.


Joseph, E., Hinga, A., Roberts, K., Pearce, M., Buckley, T., de Viggiani, N., & Jones, M. (2014). Health promotion in the age of social media: Evaluation of Word Press as a platform for developing postgraduate student skills. British Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 4(9), 1274-1289.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 31, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2018
Journal British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science
Print ISSN 2278-0998
Publisher SCIENCEDOMAIN International
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 9
Pages 1274-1289
Keywords social media, technology enhanced learning, health promotion, assessment, higher education
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations