Health Information Detective:
How does your source of health information stack up?
Here's The Scoop
How do I know if a source is credible or not?
There are few basic questions to ask yourself when evaluating the credibility of a certain website:
1. Who is the author? (Credible sources are written by experts in their particular field of study and often times will cite the sources they used when compiling their information)
2. How recent is the source? (Check to see when the webpage was last updated or the publication date of the article. Health information is constantly evolving and expanding due to new research findings and technological advances, so the more current the article, the better!)
3. What is the author's purpose? (Is the author displaying biases, is the author intending to promote a certain drug/medical treatment).
4. What is the domain of the source? (For example, anyone can create a .com, .net, or .org domain. However, .edu websites are reserved only for colleges and universities and .gov websites are specifically made by the government, with both types considered trusted sources of information. Although, you must pay attention to .edu sources since students may create a webpage with space on their college's server - so don't automatically assume a .edu website is credible without asking these other questions first).
5. What is the writing style? (Be on the lookout for misspellings and poor grammar. Reputable and credible sources of information pay very close attention to writing style to make sure that the information is easy to understand for the public).
6. Who is the sponsor? (Is the website sponsored by a reputable group or organization, like the American Heart Association? If you cannot tell what group or individual developed the site, rethink your decision to use this site as a source of information).
This is an example of a quality and reputable .gov website, which provides users with easy to understand and accurate health information ranging from various diseases and conditions to medical treatments and drugs.