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CH3 Evaluating Websites

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					  Finding Health Information on the
               Internet
      for You and Your Children




CHAPTER 3: EVALUATING WEBSITES


 Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University
             New York Academy of Medicine
 Supported by a Grant from the National Library of Medicine
                                                              8/4/06
       Class 3: Evaluating Websites


Objectives
 Learn how to evaluate a website and decide if it is reliable

 Learn the six questions to ask about a web site:
   Who, What, Where, When, Why, How?

 Further familiarize yourself with navigating around websites

 Learn to recognize the HONcode

 Compare the Web to other information sources


                                                                CH 8/4/06   41
How do I know if a website is reliable?
 Anyone can publish information on the Internet, so once you get your
 search results it is important to evaluate websites to decide if you can
 trust the information you find.
 Go to malepregnancy.com.
 Do you believe this website?




 It is very important to evaluate the information you find on the
 Internet!
                                                                            CH 8/4/06   42
Deciding if a Website is Reliable:
The Six Questions for Evaluating Websites
1. Who?           Who wrote it?
                  Can you find an author?
                  If there is no author, is it from an institution or organization you can
                  trust?
                  Example: The following is the end of an article from
                  www.kidshealth.org. Even though it doesn’t state who wrote the
                  article, it does tell you who reviewed the article, and when.




                                                                                 CH 8/4/06   43
Questions for evaluating websites
2. What?          What makes the author an expert?

                  Is the author a doctor or a nurse?

                  What are the author’s credentials?

                  Example: On the Kidshealth website we can click on the
                  reviewer’s name to get to a page that lists all of the reviewers
                  and their credentials, or what makes them an expert.




                                                                        CH 8/4/06   44
Questions for evaluating websites
3. Where?                 Where is the author located?
                          Is the author with the government or a university or another
Remember that the         authority that would provide reliable information?
suffix of a website’s
address often tells you   Websites that end in .gov are government sites.
about the organization
that owns the website.



                          -.edu is for schools, colleges or universities



                          -.org is usually for nonprofit organizations



                                                                              CH 8/4/06   45
Questions for evaluating websites
3. Where? continued      -.com is usually for commercial for-profit websites.

Should you trust         Go to www.drkoop.com
commercial sites?

There is an abundance
of advertising on        This used to be a very good source of health information.
websites and it is       Now there are many advertisements -- many for drug
becoming harder and      companies -- which means that one should read the
harder to tell the       information with a grain of salt!
difference between ads
and content.                                                        This is an ad!




                         But even with advertisements, some commercial websites
                         often have very good, unbiased information.
                                                                                CH 8/4/06   46
Questions for evaluating websites
4. When?                  Is there a date for when the information was last updated?

Medical information can Is it current?                            At the end of the
change overnight based                                            Kidshealth article, it
on the results of new                                             is very clear how old
research, for example. It                                         the information is.
is very important to get
information that is
current.




                          Make sure you are getting current information!


                                                                              CH 8/4/06   47
Questions for evaluating websites
5. Why?                  Why is the information on the Internet?
                         To inform you, or to try to sell you something?

    Notice that their
    product catalog is   Go to www.healthfree.com
    the first item on
    the navigation bar                                      This is a product
                                                            that this website
                                                            is trying to sell




                         Beware of websites trying to sell you something!!!     CH 8/4/06   48
Questions for evaluating websites
5. Why? continued
Always try to find out the               With some websites, the “about”
purpose of a website by                  is right at the top of the page.
looking for the “about
us” section of the
website.

The “about us” section of
a website tells the viewer
what the purpose of the
website is.
   With other sites, the
   “about” section might be
   at the very bottom of the
   page.

                             It can be quite difficult to find the “about” section with certain
                             websites but be willing to look around!
                                                                                      CH 8/4/06   49
Questions for evaluating websites
6. How?           How does it look?
                  Are there spelling mistakes?
                  Are there tons of advertisements?
                  Are they trying to sell you something?




                                                           CH 8/4/06   50
Quality & Trustworthiness of the Medical & Health Web
•   HON has been created for improving the quality of information intended to both
    patients and medical professionals for facilitating quick access to the most relevant
    and up-to-date medical discoveries.
•   HONcode is the oldest and the most used ethical and trustworthy code for medical
    and health related information available on Internet.
•   The HONcode is designed for two target audiences: the general public and the web
    publisher, actively involving the site owner in the process of accreditation.
•   The HON Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization, internationally known for
    its pioneering work in the field of health information ethics, notably for the
    establishment of its code of ethical conduct, the HONcode.
•   www.healthonnet.org




                     The symbol used to indicate that a
                     site is trustworthy

                                                                                      CH 8/4/06   51
Is the Web the right place to go?
The Web is best for:   There is a lot of great information available on the Web, but there are
                       times when the Internet is not the right place to go for health
Overviews              information:
                       -If you are looking for a diagnosis to find out what your
Current information
                       symptoms might indicate, it is probably best to consult your
                       doctor.
                       Example: If you think your child broke a bone, don’t look to the
                       Internet for help, call your doctor or go to the emergency room! But,
                       if you want to learn ways to prevent accidents, the Internet is a great
                       place to go.
                       -The Internet is a wonderful source of information, especially
                       for overviews, but there is still a time when books do the job
                       best. In general, the Internet is very good for finding current
                       information, but not as good with histories.
                       Example: If you’re worried about the threat of a smallpox outbreak,
                       the Internet is a good place to find out more. If you want to know
                       about the history of smallpox outbreaks and its elimination, the
                       Internet might not be as helpful as a book.
                                                                                    CH 8/4/06 52
                Exercises
Look at the following websites and determine if each is
reliable according to the criteria we discussed in class:

a. www.thinktwice.com

b. www.healthfree.com

c. www.drkoop.com

d.www.drugs.com

e. www.cancermed.com

f. www.healthandage.com

g. www.connectforkids.org/



                                                       CH 8/4/06   53
       Class 3: Evaluating Websites


Objectives
 Learn how to evaluate a website and decide if it is reliable

 Learn the six questions to ask about a web site:
   Who, What, Where, When, Why, How?

 Further familiarize yourself with navigating around websites

 Learn to recognize the HONcode

 Compare the Web to other information sources


                                                                CH 8/4/06   41
How do I know if a website is reliable?
 Anyone can publish information on the Internet, so once you get your
 search results it is important to evaluate websites to decide if you can
 trust the information you find.
 Go to malepregnancy.com.
 Do you believe this website?




 It is very important to evaluate the information you find on the
 Internet!
                                                                            CH 8/4/06   42
Deciding if a Website is Reliable:
The Six Questions for Evaluating Websites
1. Who?           Who wrote it?
                  Can you find an author?
                  If there is no author, is it from an institution or organization you can
                  trust?
                  Example: The following is the end of an article from
                  www.kidshealth.org. Even though it doesn’t state who wrote the
                  article, it does tell you who reviewed the article, and when.




                                                                                 CH 8/4/06   43
Questions for evaluating websites
2. What?          What makes the author an expert?

                  Is the author a doctor or a nurse?

                  What are the author’s credentials?

                  Example: On the Kidshealth website we can click on the
                  reviewer’s name to get to a page that lists all of the reviewers
                  and their credentials, or what makes them an expert.




                                                                        CH 8/4/06   44
Questions for evaluating websites
3. Where?                 Where is the author located?
                          Is the author with the government or a university or another
Remember that the         authority that would provide reliable information?
suffix of a website’s
address often tells you   Websites that end in .gov are government sites.
about the organization
that owns the website.



                          -.edu is for schools, colleges or universities



                          -.org is usually for nonprofit organizations



                                                                              CH 8/4/06   45
Questions for evaluating websites
3. Where? continued      -.com is usually for commercial for-profit websites.

Should you trust         Go to www.drkoop.com
commercial sites?

There is an abundance
of advertising on        This used to be a very good source of health information.
websites and it is       Now there are many advertisements -- many for drug
becoming harder and      companies -- which means that one should read the
harder to tell the       information with a grain of salt!
difference between ads
and content.                                                        This is an ad!




                         But even with advertisements, some commercial websites
                         often have very good, unbiased information.
                                                                                CH 8/4/06   46
Questions for evaluating websites
4. When?                  Is there a date for when the information was last updated?

Medical information can Is it current?                            At the end of the
change overnight based                                            Kidshealth article, it
on the results of new                                             is very clear how old
research, for example. It                                         the information is.
is very important to get
information that is
current.




                          Make sure you are getting current information!


                                                                              CH 8/4/06   47
Questions for evaluating websites
5. Why?                  Why is the information on the Internet?
                         To inform you, or to try to sell you something?

    Notice that their
    product catalog is   Go to www.healthfree.com
    the first item on
    the navigation bar                                      This is a product
                                                            that this website
                                                            is trying to sell




                         Beware of websites trying to sell you something!!!     CH 8/4/06   48
Questions for evaluating websites
5. Why? continued
Always try to find out the               With some websites, the “about”
purpose of a website by                  is right at the top of the page.
looking for the “about
us” section of the
website.

The “about us” section of
a website tells the viewer
what the purpose of the
website is.
   With other sites, the
   “about” section might be
   at the very bottom of the
   page.

                             It can be quite difficult to find the “about” section with certain
                             websites but be willing to look around!
                                                                                      CH 8/4/06   49
Questions for evaluating websites
6. How?           How does it look?
                  Are there spelling mistakes?
                  Are there tons of advertisements?
                  Are they trying to sell you something?




                                                           CH 8/4/06   50
Quality & Trustworthiness of the Medical & Health Web
•   HON has been created for improving the quality of information intended to both
    patients and medical professionals for facilitating quick access to the most relevant
    and up-to-date medical discoveries.
•   HONcode is the oldest and the most used ethical and trustworthy code for medical
    and health related information available on Internet.
•   The HONcode is designed for two target audiences: the general public and the web
    publisher, actively involving the site owner in the process of accreditation.
•   The HON Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization, internationally known for
    its pioneering work in the field of health information ethics, notably for the
    establishment of its code of ethical conduct, the HONcode.
•   www.healthonnet.org




                     The symbol used to indicate that a
                     site is trustworthy

                                                                                      CH 8/4/06   51
Is the Web the right place to go?
The Web is best for:   There is a lot of great information available on the Web, but there are
                       times when the Internet is not the right place to go for health
Overviews              information:
                       -If you are looking for a diagnosis to find out what your
Current information
                       symptoms might indicate, it is probably best to consult your
                       doctor.
                       Example: If you think your child broke a bone, don’t look to the
                       Internet for help, call your doctor or go to the emergency room! But,
                       if you want to learn ways to prevent accidents, the Internet is a great
                       place to go.
                       -The Internet is a wonderful source of information, especially
                       for overviews, but there is still a time when books do the job
                       best. In general, the Internet is very good for finding current
                       information, but not as good with histories.
                       Example: If you’re worried about the threat of a smallpox outbreak,
                       the Internet is a good place to find out more. If you want to know
                       about the history of smallpox outbreaks and its elimination, the
                       Internet might not be as helpful as a book.
                                                                                    CH 8/4/06 52
                Exercises
Look at the following websites and determine if each is
reliable according to the criteria we discussed in class:

a. www.thinktwice.com

b. www.healthfree.com

c. www.drkoop.com

d.www.drugs.com

e. www.cancermed.com

f. www.healthandage.com

g. www.connectforkids.org/



                                                       CH 8/4/06   53

				
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