URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/webeval/intro1.html

Evaluating Internet Health Information Tutorial

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Welcome to the Evaluating Internet Health Information tutorial from the National Library of Medicine.

This tutorial will teach you how to evaluate health information found on the internet.

Using the internet to find health information is like going on a treasure hunt. You could find some real gems, but you could also end up in some strange and dangerous places!

So how can you tell if a Web site is reliable? There are a few quick steps you can take to check out a Web site. Let's consider the clues to look for when checking out Web sites.

When you visit a Web site, you'll want to ask the following questions:

  • Who runs the site?
  • Why have they created the site?
  • What do they want from you?
  • Who is paying for the site? Does the site's information favor the sponsor?
  • Is the information reviewed by experts?
  • Where did the information come from?
  • Does the site make unbelievable claims?
  • Is it up-to-date?
  • Do "they" want your personal information? What will "they" do with it

Answering each of these questions gives you clues about the quality of the information on the site.

You can usually find the answers on the main page or the "About Us" page of a Web site. Site maps can also be helpful.

Let's say your doctor just told you that you have high cholesterol.

You want to learn more about it before your next doctor's appointment, and you have started with the Internet.

Let's say that you found these two Web sites. (They are not real sites).

Anyone can put up a Web page. You want a trusted source. First, find out who is running the site.

Different sites can have common elements like horizontal menus toward the top of the pages and footer areas at the bottom of the pages. The content areas can be in vertical arranges, or be a combination of horizontal and vertical column arrangements.
These two examples of websites demonstrate how pages can potentially be arranged.
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