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Health Information on the Internet: A Resource Guide: Welcome!

An annotated list of reliable and trustworthy health information websites.

Finding reliable health information

Image from: Flickr Creative Commons, <http://www.flickr.com/photos/67272961@N03/6123892769/in/photostream/>

Looking for health information on the Internet is a common practice but discerning reliable, well-founded health information from misleading or false claims is not always as easy as it sounds.  This research guide will point you to some online resources for reliable information from trustworthy sources and will give you the tools needed to make sound judgements about the websites that you find online.  Nonetheless, remember that your health care professional is best equipped to make diagnoses and recommend treatments!


The CRAAP test in the box to the right is a handy tool for evaluating websites that you may come across in a Google search. Consider all of the points together to judge the reliability of the site.  

The CRAAP Test

Currency

  • When it comes to health, you often need current, up-to-date information.  Check the website for a copyright date, or 'last updated' date, often at the very bottom of the page.
  • Try the links on the page.  If many of them are 'broken', it's likely that the page has not been updated or maintained.

Relevance

  • Check that the information is relevant to your question.  Choose your search terms carefully to retrieve the most relevant results.
  • Who is the intended audience of the website?  Is the information meant for health consumers (lay people) or health professionals?

Authority

  • A good website will provide clear information as to the author/owner of the site and the source of the information.  You should be able to find an 'About' link somewhere on the page.
  • Legitimate sites often provide contact information.
  • The web address can be a clue to authorship:  .edu indicates an educational institution and .gov indicates a government website. 
  • By adding site:.gov to your Google search, you can easily limit your keyword search to government websites.  Adding site:.edu will limit the search to websites of educational institutions.

Accuracy

  • The accuracy of the information can be difficult to determine, but some clues may be a warning sign.  Trust your judgement and beware of sites that make health claims that you know to be false or that are debunked by another reliable, trustworthy source.
  • Beware of biased or opinionated language.
  • Steer clear of websites that are poorly written, full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, or lots of exclamation points.

Purpose

  • The purpose of a reliable health information website should be to teach or inform.  The information should be objective and impartial.
  • Beware of sites whose primary purpose seems to be selling products, entertaining, or sites that are strongly biased or opinionated.

Contact Information

Kate Ghezzi-Kopel
Contact:
Services and Collections Offices
Albert R. Mann Library
Cornell University
Ithaca NY 14850
607-255-9958