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Tips for Evaluating Health Care Information on the Web
The Internet is a great consumer health resource because it's an easily accessible place to spread and share information. However, a drawback of the Internet is that anyone can post information, regardless of the author's qualifications and the accuracy or timeliness of the information. We've compiled a list of questions and tips that you can use to evaluate web sites to help determine whether they are reliable and reputable sources of health information.

Author

1) Who created the web site? Web Tip: Search for About Us or Help links and look at the URL for hints.

2) Can I contact the web site creators with questions or feedback? Web Tip: Find Contact information, Email addresses, and/or Help section.

Accuracy

3) What is the purpose of the web site? Web Tip: Find the Mission or Purpose Statement. Consider the advertisements and tone of writing.

  • Sell
  • Inform/Provide facts & data
  • Persuade
  • Humor/Satire
  • Other

4) Who is the web site's intended audience? Web Tip: Think about the design and writing style.

5) Is the information biased or objective? Web Tip: Examine for funding disclosures and advertising. Look for persuasive tone or product promotion.

6) How well respected is the web site and the web site's material? Web Tip: Find out who links to the web site and whether the links are reputable. (Go to Google's Advanced Search, type the web site's URL into the Page Specific Search - Links field. Note the number of links and consider the reputation of linking web sites.)

Timeliness

7) Is the web site up to date? Web Tip: Look for Last Updated or Update date, Creation date, Copyright or other date.

8) Are the links current or broken? Web Tip: Test out several links to see if they work.

For More Information

9) Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask - A series of evaluation questions and tips from the University of California Berkeley Library.

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