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7 Excellent Questions for Evaluating Information Online

7 Excellent Questions for Evaluating Information Online

The online information environment allows us to access a plethora of information at any time from almost any device. The online environment also allows anyone to publish and create online information, for this reason, it is important to become critical evaluators of online information. Not all information online is accurate, valid, or useful.

You need some online “detective” skills that can help you better evaluate online information including online health information. CLICK TO TWEET

Anyone can publish information online and say they are an expert on a subject. But this may not always be true. Look for information from well-known people or organizations that are useful to your needs. Also, be cautious of information from an individual or organization that is providing information for the primary purpose of trying to sell you something. 

Not all information from any source is accurate. Just because someone told you the information, you found the information in a book, or you found the information online, does not mean that the information is reliable. Before you blindly accept information online, and especially health information, ask the following questions.


Who wrote the information? Are they an expert, do they claim to be an expert, or do they clearly state that they are not an expert? Is there a biography of the person or an about me page so you can find out more details about the author? 


Where is the information published? Is it found on an authoritative website related to the topic? Does it provide a list of references or further reading concerning where the information came from and where you can find out more? Is it a blog, YouTube channel, Wiki, or social network? If so, can you easily find a disclosure, disclaimer, or sponsor page or area? In that case, what information and details are provided?


When was the information published? When was the information last updated? Is the information still relevant? Information is changing rapidly, it is, therefore, important to check if the online information you are accessing is current, or out-of-date. 


Why was the information published? Was the information posted just to sell the audience something? Was it published to inform, entertain, etc.? Also, ask yourself why and if the information is useful to you and your purposes. Why should you use or accept the information? 


What is the purpose of the website and the information on the site? What does the author say is the aim of the site, and what else might the author have in mind for the site? What information is covered on the site and what information is not covered? 


How does the information on the site compare to the information found on other sites about the same or similar topic? Is the information consistent or completely different? 


Finally, ask yourself which site or information best fits your needs and purposes. 

I hope these seven questions will help you as you access online information and especially health information. When I was a school librarian, I showed these same tips to my students because I truly believe it is so valuable and important to be informed information consumers. 

For further reading, check out National Cancer Institute. 2014. “How can you be careful about cancer information on websites, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, and e-mail?” Accessed October 7. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/health-info-online.

7 Excellent Questions for Evaluating #Information Online: Who, Where, When , Why, What, How, Which http://ow.ly/OfNy30aC1ka @lenaebaker CLICK TO TWEET

Additional Sources

To close, here are some quality sources for more information on teen health, body image, and media literacy:

Yours Truly, LeNae

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Health Disclaimer 

It is up to you the reader, to do future research and consult a professional when considering any health information on this Blog. All information provided on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued should not replace seeking professional help or substitute professional guidelines. I am not a health, mental, nutritional, or fitness professional. The FDA has not approved any advice or statements made on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued. Any information found on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition. Please consult a professional before engaging in any activity suggested on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued. 

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