IGS University of Twente
Research Research services PhD & Education Press & Public Information
Thursday 23 February 2017, 14:30, Prof. dr. G. Berkhoff-zaal

PhD defence Femke Hilverda

Making sense of Food risk information: the case of organic food

When individuals encounter new information about food issues, such as organic food risks, they have to make sense of this information. Sense-making is the process by which individuals give meaning to the world around them. How the process of sense-making is influenced by the online social environment, and social media interaction in particular, is as yet largely unknown. This dissertation therefore examines the research question: How do individuals make sense of (online) risk information about (organic) food issues? Special focus is placed on the influence of the social environment and on online information exchange. Based on the new opportunities that social media offer to (risk) communication, a distinction in three types of online information exchange is made: information exchange via social networking sites (Facebook), direct online interaction via a chat, and actively sharing encountered information with others via online media such as (micro)blogs. A total of six empirical studies are performed to provide insight in sense-making regarding organic food risks in an online context. 

The research of this PhD-project was funded by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority.