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PHED: Personal Health and Wellness: Websites

Guide for PHED 2022 Personal and Community Health and PHED 2006 First Aid and CPR as well as other health and wellness topics for non-health professionals.

Quick Links

Recommended Websites

How do I know if a website is reliable?

Website Evaluation

When considering whether the information on a website is a good source for your purposes, there are five basic criteria:

  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Timeliness
  • Objectivity
  • Usefulness

Try to answer these questions to help you evaluate the website:

Accuracy - Is the information accurate?  (Note that the other criteria also have to do with accuracy!)

  • Does the information build on/cite other high-quality information sources?
  • Can you verify the information in another, unrelated source?
  • Does the information "ring true?" How does the information compare with what you already know?

Authority - Do the authors of the information know what they're talking about?

  • Is the author identified?
  • Does the author have expertise in the area?
  • Is the author's contact information given so you can ask questions?
  • Publisher's qualifications - Does a well-known organization sponsor the website?
  • Consider the site's domain. 
    • .com is for commercial websites; what they are trying to sell may bias the information. 
    • .gov is US government websites.
    • .edu is education websites - these can be high quality sites, but beware of any that are students posting projects rather than departments or scholars in the field. 
    • .org is non-profit organizations, but they may have a bias depending on the goal of the organization.

Timeliness - Consider your topic and how quickly the information might get out of date. Is the information recent enough to be accurate?

  • When was the information produced?
  • Are the sources cited current?
  • When was the cite last updated?
  • Are the links current?  (If there are dead links, that is a sign that the website has been neglected.)

Objectivity - Is the information biased? 

  • Is the website intended to persuade/sell or inform?  Is it a mask for advertising?
  • What opinions are expressed by the author?
  • Is the language objective or inflamatory?
  • Who sponsors the information?

Usefulness - Does the site fit your purposes?

  • Is the information on topic?
  • Is the depth of information appropriately detailed? (Is it too elementary, too advanced, or just right?)
  • Do you have the software/hardware to access the information?
  • Is there a price you are willing to pay? (Some sites require money or the sharing of personal information.)
  • Is the site organized in a useful way so you can access the information you need?