COVID-19 information spaces, boundaries, and information sharing: an interview study


  • Togzhan Seilkhanova University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Theodore Dreyfus Ledford University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Jodi Schneider University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



information sharing, semi-structured interviews, Credibility, COVID-19, trust, personal experience, people-centred information sharing


Introduction. The goal of this paper is to understand who shares information used by the general public about COVID-19 and how they decided what information to share.

Method. Our qualitative work is based on semi-structured interviews conducted from April 2022 through December 2023 with 23 people who have provided COVID- 19 information through paid and volunteer roles. We used the critical incident technique. We also asked participants about their information gathering and credibility checking processes; their role in spreading information; and their typical audience for sharing.

Analysis. We transcribed interviews and conducted thematic analysis in MAXQDA software.

Results. We conceptualise the information space as consisting of the audience, communities, sharers, and experts. We illustrate three distinct exemplars of sharers. We describe how personal and historical experiences create boundaries around individuals (sharers and audience), which determine what sources of information are trustworthy, and how our participants share the information with their audience.

Conclusion. For COVID-19 information, the audience may be identified first or the information service may be formed first. Fact-checkers and science journalists’ job is to report truthful and verified information, and they do not tailor it to a specific community as much as people-centered sharers, such as patient advocates.




How to Cite

Seilkhanova, T., Ledford, T. D., & Schneider, J. (2024). COVID-19 information spaces, boundaries, and information sharing: an interview study. Information Research an International Electronic Journal, 29(2), 525–545.