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About HINTS

What HINTS Does

The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) collects nationally representative data routinely about the American public's use of cancer-related information. The survey:

  • Provides updates on changing patterns, needs, and information opportunities in health
  • Identifies changing communications trends and practices
  • Assesses cancer information access and usage
  • Provides information about how cancer risks are perceived
  • Offers a testbed to researchers to test new theories in health communication

How HINTS Data Are Used

The HINTS data collection program was created to monitor changes in the rapidly evolving field of health communication. Survey researchers are using the data to understand how adults 18 years and older use different communication channels, including the Internet, to obtain vital health information for themselves and their loved ones. Program planners are using the data to overcome barriers to health information usage across populations, and obtaining the data they need to create more effective communication strategies. Finally, social scientists are using the data to refine their theories of health communication in the information age and to offer new and better recommendations for reducing the burden of cancer throughout the population. HINTS data are available for public use.

NCI Presentations

The following presentations were presented to researchers at the National Cancer Institute. They are provided here as background to the survey and the analytic methodologies appropriate for nationally weighted probability samples.

  • HINTS Presentation to NCI Director, presented 12-18-2003 PDF (2.3 MB)
  • Analyzing Weighted Survey Data, presented 2-9-2004 PDF (83 KB)
  • Webinar: HINTS: Progress, Plans and Potentials, presented 6-27-2007 WMV (7.2 MB)

HINTS Users Meeting (January 9-10, 2014)

Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the meeting focused on research using HINTS data and the application of HINTS research to public health and clinical care.

HINTS Sponsors

HINTS was developed by the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch (HCIRB) of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) as an outcome of the National Cancer Institute's Extraordinary Opportunity in Cancer Communications. To learn more about communication and informatics research at NCI, please visit the HCIRB and DCCPS Web sites.

For additional information about the HINTS program, please use our contact form or email NCIhints@mail.nih.gov.

Interested in International or Community HINTS?

Are you a researcher interested in conducting a HINTS-like health communication survey in your community or country? If so, you are welcome to use HINTS items from our publicly available survey instruments for your data collection effort. The NCI HINTS program encourages and supports any opportunity to standardize measures and promote data harmonization for health communication research.

We are aware of several international health communication surveys that utilize HINTS items, as well as local-level surveys that do so. We hope that the NCI HINTS program can continue to be a leader in health-related survey research, provide quality measures for others to utilize, and be an exemplar program for other data collection efforts to follow.

Members of the NCI HINTS management team are available to provide limited consultation to you and your research team on your data collection effort. After you have reviewed our publicly available materials including the methodology report, instrument, and data from the most recent HINTS cycle, please contact us directly at NCIhints@mail.nih.gov and someone from the NCI HINTS management team will get back to you about providing in-kind consultation to your study. These activities are not managed by a coordinating center, so you can expect to hear directly from NCI HINTS staff.

Due to limited resources and competing priorities, any further consultation and collaboration will be decided on a case-by-case basis after an initial meeting with you and your research team. Because your health communication survey is not initiated, led, monitored, or funded by NCI, neither the HINTS name (in full or acronym) nor the HINTS logo should be used for your unaffiliated project(s). The name Health Information National Trends Survey, the acronym HINTS, and the HINTS logo are registered trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Moreover, while you are welcome to use HINTS items, the NCI HINTS instruments should not be duplicated for external use.