A Systematic Literature Review of Research From 2010 to 2020 Addressing User-Generated Online Comments Related to Health Issues and Recommendations for Future Research

Muhammad Ittefaq, Mauryne Abwao, Ioana A. Coman, Waqas Ejaz


This systematic literature review was conducted to provide insights into how online readers’ comments have been studied in the context of health over a 10-year span. About  593 studies published between 2010 and 2020; of these, 34 met the research criteria for inclusion. Our findings reveal that 60% of the studies focused on the United States, and a qualitative method was used in 74.3% of these studies. About 23.5% of the studies explored vaccine-related issues. Our results reveal that among the selected studies, 76.5% and 20.6% had female and male first authors, respectively. Textual analysis of abstracts shows that the top five keywords were news, HPV, vaccine, themes, and vaccination. However, 58.8% of the identified studies did not use any theoretical framework. In addition, nine health topics emerged: vaccines; health policies; nutritional and dietary choices; women’s health issues; quality of life and well-being; smoking; engagement with health-related news content; COVID-19; and suicide and mental health.


digital health, health issues, online user comments, research methods, systematic review, importance of theories

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