Media Understanding and Narrative Analysis (WG3)

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Finnish public and decision makers alike have turned to Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) for statements and guidelines on appropriate actions and behavior. Accordingly, THL’s output on social media has met an unprecedented increase in engagement from the public. Working Group 3 is a THL-internal research team focused to support risk communication efforts through media understanding and narrative analysis. The aim of the research is to produce concrete and practical measures for the improvement of crisis communication of government officials towards the public.

The research of the team deploys qualitative methods to learn about the subjective COVID-19 related risk perceptions of the public  from the discussions on THL social platforms.  This  is central for pandemic preparedness and planning as  risk perceptions of  individuals’ guide their judgments and evaluations of threats, and can limit public compliance with and response to information communicated by authorities. The risk perceptions are further mapped out through a number of focus group discussions with the public. In a parallel strand of inquiry, the same data is analyzed to identify barriers and facilitators for vaccine uptake that can be further utilized in vaccine demand generation in Finland.

Current topics:

  • “Risk perception framework of the public – an infodemic tool for future pandemics and epidemics” (BMC Public Health)
  • “Identifying factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine uptake in Finland – A qualitative study using social media data” (submitted for publication)
  • “Attitudes, trust and socio-cultural factors as key concepts of COVID-19-related risk perceptions of the public – practical recommendations for risk communication”


Anna-Leena Lohiniva

Senior Specialist (+358)29 524 7191

Annika Pensola

Researcher (+358)29 524 8208