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Communicating health threats: Linguistic evidence for effective public health messaging during the Covid-19 pandemic

Adolphs, Svenja, McAuley, Derek, Vilar-Lluch, Sara, Knight, Dawn ORCID:, McClaughlin, Emma, Nichele, Elena, Clos, Jeremie, Barnard, Pepita, Parnell, Tamsin and Lang, Alexandra 2023. Communicating health threats: Linguistic evidence for effective public health messaging during the Covid-19 pandemic. University of Nottingham.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of effective and timely public health messaging. As a health threat, the global outbreak of Covid-19 required communication that targeted the entire population while also raising special awareness among segments of the population at higher risk of infection and poor outcomes. At the same time, public health messaging had to be adapted at pace as new evidence about the nature of the virus and the impact of different types of intervention emerged. More than three years into the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are able to take stock of the challenges that have surrounded, and continue to affect, effective public health messaging, especially in relation to the notion of risk and at-risk populations, and the different measures that have been implemented to curtail the spread and impact of the virus. In this report we present the findings of the AHRC/UKRI-funded project ‘Coronavirus Discourses: linguistic evidence for effective public health messaging’, which ran from January 2021 to July 2022. The project brought together a multidisciplinary team of linguists, computer scientists and experts in human factors research working in partnership with the UK Health Security Agency, Public Health Wales and NHS Education for Scotland to investigate the trajectories and impact of public health messages during the Covid-19 pandemic. The research team used a wide range of methods, including corpus linguistics (the study of language patterns in large amounts of digitised text), public surveys, and a Public Involvement Panel (PIP) to analyse real-world public health discourse.

Item Type: Monograph (UNSPECIFIED)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: University of Nottingham
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 March 2023
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2023 10:45

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