Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Pasch


In the field of Communication there are a wide variety of ways in which scholars can utilize theories to serve as epistemological frameworks in order to examine sociological structures. In this thesis, the subfield of Health Communication will be examined through a positivistic and critical cultural studies paradigm. This work will then examine underlying assumptions related to theoretical approaches in health communication.

With the primary argument of this work being that the dominant approaches in Healthcare Communication have been primarily rooted in positivism, this research study will attempt to show how this assumption continues to extend even into new digital communication platforms through an in-depth Twitter analysis of hashtags surrounding the Mayo Clinic.

Through participant observations, a literature review regarding the field of Health Communication, and research study of Mayo Clinic’s Twitter platform, this thesis will attempt to shed light on the need to create a more critical cultural theoretical approach in the field for health communication. The study concludes by positing that as communication scholars begin to advance the field of Health Communication through incorporating critical cultural perspectives, the field will be opened up to a broader epistemology that may ultimately enhance the future of Health Communication in patient physician relationships and care.

Included in

Communication Commons