ensure that access is broadened through appropriate, supported
public channels such as cancer information centres and public
Limitations of study
The interviews used in our analysis were collected for five
individual projects for the DIPEx database, using the same inter-
view methods and maximum variation sampling. The samples
numerically representative of cancer patients, having been
experience, as is appropriate to the aims of this qualitative study.
Many important questions about the impact of the internet
are beyond the scope of a qualitative interview study. These
include what impact the internet has on the consultation, how it
affects patients’ participation in decisions, what effect it has on
health outcomes, and, indeed, what the relevant outcomes are.
This study prepares the ground for further qualitative and quan-
titative work by identifying the many different ways and stages at
which information on the internet is used, as well as the
meanings the internet has for patients and the implications for
relationships in health care.
We are grateful to all of our interview participants and the many nurse spe-
cialists, support groups, general practitioners, and consultants who helped
us to recruit them. We also thank our internal referees, Jacqueline McClaren
and Anthony Harnden; our colleagues Andrew Herxheimer and Ann
McPherson; and the
reviewers, Jonathan Powell and Aileen Clarke, for
their helpful comments. All interviews are copyrighted to DIPEx for use in
publications, broadcasting, teaching, and research.
Contributors: AC, CD, JE, SP, LR and SZ collected interviews and