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.
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)
Some state specific sources:
Website Evaluation Criteria
Try the SCRAP Test
· 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?
· 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?
· 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.