Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935



This study examines how patients use narratives to evaluate their experiences of healthcare services online. The analysis draws on corpus linguistic techniques, specifically annotation, applying Labov and Waletzky’s (1967) framework to a sample of online comments about the NHS in England. Narratives are pervasive in this context, being present more than absent in the patients’ comments, but are particularly prominent in comments which evaluate care negatively. Evaluations can be accomplished through all the structural elements of the narrative, including in combination with one another. However, the presence and ordering of these elements does not seem to be influenced by the type of evaluation given (i.e. positive, negative or more neutral). As mediated social practice, the narratives are shaped by the technological affordances and social dynamics of this context, for instance in the placement of particular structural elements and the design of narratives for particular “imagined” audiences.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): annotation; Health Communication; narrative; NHS; patient feedback
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