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Evaluation Guidelines

Evaluation Guidelines
  • Consider the source. Are the authors/producers clearly identified? By what authority do they write? Look for well-known names in health and medicine.
  • Note whether the URL,.edu (educational),.org(non-profit organization), .net (network), .com (commercial), or a two-letter code (country of origin). Governmental and educational sites are generally the most reliable; organizational sites are often excellent, but may have a biased agenda; the same applies for .net and .com sites -- examine with a critical eye.
  • Have the authors/producers provided a convenient means to contact them? A credible source will reply to your questions.
  • How current is the information? Look for the "last updated" information on the main page, but be aware that individual sections may have different dates.
  • Is the main purpose to sell a product or service? Unless the sources of information are credible and clearly identified, do not trust the information.
  • Are there links to other relevant Web resources? Be wary of sites that do not point outward.
  • Starting with an authoritative source does not mean that progressively distant links are reliable. If you are unsure where you have landed, cut off the end of the URL and try to identify the main source. The symbol (~) can indicate a personal page.
  • When in doubt, DOUBT.
For more information:

10 Things to Know about Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web

Evaluating Online Information - Nuts and Bolts

HON Code of Conduct for Medical and Health Web Sites

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