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Evaluation of University of Pittsburgh Pitt Public Health Website

Hughes , Lauren (2013) Evaluation of University of Pittsburgh Pitt Public Health Website. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Problem: In 2011 the Pitt Public Health Dean’s office decided to redesign the school’s website and has taken this opportunity to gauge how well the current website was reaching various audiences and what could be done in the future to better serve those who use website.
Method: An evaluation of the website was conducted with the purpose of determining the needs of the audiences who use the website, determine the usage of the website and to explore potential ways to make the website more effective. Website analytics and qualitative research methodology was employed including five structured interviews with members of the website committee and seven focus groups with primary audiences of the website. Focus groups audiences included current students, alumni, faculty, and staff. A theme analysis was used for the focus groups using qualitative research methods.
Results: There were a total of 43 participants (seven students, 13 alumni, seven faculty, and 16 staff members). Four major themes were found in the focus groups. The first theme is that is difficult to find information on the website, particularly contact information. The second theme is that website usage is low because it is difficult to find information or that the website is not updated enough with new information. The third theme was that there needs to be better communication between the school and its internal and external audiences. The final theme is that all focus groups thought that social media and mobile technology were extremely important.
Conclusions: Recommendations for the website include continuity between the school site and the department sites so that users can find the same information across different areas of the site. The webpages should not have paragraphs of information but lists or short descriptions so users can quickly find what they need without having to read paragraphs. A reliable search bar should be added so that it only searches for information on the site, so that users can quickly find what they are looking for. There should be an easy to use directory that users can find contact information and calendar that has important event information listed for the school and departments. The school should also encourage better outreach to their audiences and provide resources to accomplish this goal. The school should also have a Facebook page and Twitter feed and keep it updated so that users will be engaged.
Public Health Significance: Pitt Public Health conducts world class research and trains the next generation of public health practitioners and researchers. Any organization or institution that conducts business on the internet the website has become the most important place where transactions are carried out and this holds true for universities. In order to attract the best students, faculty and staff to the school, like any business, needs to develop a website that matches the schools high standards and ideals because it is where consumers first come into contact with the school.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hughes , Lauren lmh4@pitt.eduLMH4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorNolan, Beth/A.D.
Committee MemberWisniewski, Stephen Rwisniew@edc.pitt.eduSTEVEWIS
Committee MemberFelter, Elizabeth
Date: 27 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 March 2013
Approval Date: 27 June 2013
Submission Date: 25 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: website, evaluation
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 18:16
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:12


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