Searching for a "plan b": Young adults' strategies for finding information about emergency contraception online

Eszter Hargittai*, Heather Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


While research has established that turning to the Internet for information about health matters is increasingly common, we know little about the strategies that people use to access such information and the accuracy of material they consult online. This paper draws on in-person observations and interviews with a diverse group of 210 young adults about their experiences with looking for emergency contraception (EC) information on the Web. Findings suggest that despite being a highly wired group with much experience using the Internet, many respondents are unable to find accurate information on this important topic. One third of participants were unable to find any relevant information about EC and the majority of the whole group could not identify the most efficient way to acquire EC in a time of need. Results suggest that despite vast amounts of information available online, many people do not have the necessary skills to navigate online content well with policy implications for educating people about informed and efficient Internet uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalPolicy and Internet
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Credibility
  • Education
  • Ehealth
  • Emergency contraception
  • Health
  • Information seeking
  • Search engines
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Administration
  • Health Policy
  • Computer Science Applications


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