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EDCI 794:Advanced Methods and Qualitative Research: Reliable Web Sources

Endings can indicate reliability

Sometimes, you can judge how reliable website information is by noting the URL ending.

.GOV - refers to a government website. Highly reliable.

.EDU - often refers to a reliable educational website.

.ORG - implies a non-profit ORGanization. Approach with skepticism.

.COM - stands for "Commerce" and is used for business. Approach with skepticism.

Learning Modules/Additional information

How to find the good and avoid the bad or ugly: a short guide to tools for rating quality of health information on the internet -- an article by Peter Wilson from BMJ 

Health Literacy from National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) 

Health Information on the Web

For Professionals:



For Consumers/Public:


Some state specific sources:

Global Health


Evaluating Criteria for medical websites

Website Evaluation Criteria

Try the SCRAP Test


S- Scope

·         What is the depth of the site? Too elementary, too advanced?

·         Does it provide comprehensive coverage or mere compilation of links?

·         Is it relevant to your information needs?


C- Currency

·         Is there a date when the site was created or last updated?

·         Are the hyperlinks current?

·         In the absence of a copyright or revision date, can you determine if the information is current?


R- Reliability

·         Are the sources documented? Can you verify them?

·         Are the research methods revealed or is the content primarily opinion based? Is it balanced information?

·         Is the content coming from scholarly/peer-reviewed sources?

·         Does it have an unbiased tone?



·         Who is the author/publisher/sponsor?

·         What are their credentials/qualifications?

·         What are their organizational affiliations?

·         Is there contact information?


P- Purpose/Point of View

·         Why is the information being posted? Who is the target audience? Determine if the site is trying to inform, teach, entertain, advertise, persuade or sell.

·         Is there any bias or do the points of view appear to be objective?

·         Who is sponsoring the website?

o   Consider domains (.com, .edu, .org, .gov, .biz, .net etc.)

o   A tilde (~) in the Web address often indicates a personal Web page.