Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding Reliable Information on the Internet

Note: This is from a handout I received on 12/18/2013 that was compiled by the physicians and staff at the University of Utah Pediatric Clinic.  I thought what I read was excellent so I typed it down to share with everyone.   

Many other sites offer valuable information, but be wary of the reliability of information you find on the internet/web.

Try to find information provided by trustworthy organizations and that is not tainted by political, commercial, or sensational motives.  Consider the following as you search the web:

How accurate does the information seem?

  • Is the material free of spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors?  These suggest poor quality control.
  • Are the sources of information listed so you can cross-reference them from another site or published literature?
  • Is it clear who is responsible for content of the site and are their credentials provided?
  • Does the information confirm what you have already found on other sites?

How current is the information?

  • Do the pages indicate when an article was first posted, and when it was last revised?
  • Is there any other indication that the material is kept current?

Does the information appear to be objective?

  • Is the material free of advertising and, if not, is commercial content clearly differentiated from the informational content?
  • Is the information provided as a public service?

Who is ultimately responsible for the contents of this site?

  • Is there a description of the sponsoring organization and its purpose in providing the information?
  • Is there contact information for the sponsoring organization, including a phone number and postal address?

The more questions to which you can answer "yes," the more likely the source contains high quality information.

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