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Criteria for Evaluation of Wellness Information on the Internet



The Internet can be a valuable resource for wellness information. It is important that people find the most reliable sources of information to ensure safe practice in wellness initiatives. Various frameworks for evaluative criteria of websites exist. We have compiled the most common criteria to help you on your quest for accurate and valid wellness information. Please see the reference list at the end of the criteria for further suggestions.


Validity


  1. Who is the author of the page?
  2. What are the author's credentials?
  3. What are their qualifications and associations?
  4. Is the information about the author verifiable?
  5. Are affiliative organizations clearly identified?

Currency


  1. Is it clear when the site was first developed?
  2. Are revision dates clearly stated?
  3. Is the site actively maintained?


Accuracy


  1. Is the site content reviewed by experts?
  2. Is there an editorial board or academic affiliation?
  3. Are there references to reliable wellness journals?
  4. How usable is the content of the website?
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Content


  1. Are sources of information clearly indicated? Can they be verified?
  2. Are spelling, grammar and content accurate and consistent?
  3. Is the content enhanced with graphics and images?
  4. How valuable is the information in the content?
  5. Is there a disclaimer outlining the purpose, scope, authority, limitations and currency of the content?


Purpose


  1. Are there links to other accurate sources of information?
  2. What are the goals and purpose of the website?
  3. Is a sponsor identified on the website? What is their affiliation?
  4. Is the information one-sided or biased?
  5. Is the purpose of the website to promote or sell a product?
  6. Who is the intended audience?



References

Foundhealth.com (2000) How to Evaluate Websites http://www.barnard.columbia.edu/health/publications/internet.htm

Health Summit Working Group (1999) Criteria for Assessing the Quality of Health Information on the Internet: Policy Paper http://hitiweb.mitretek.org/docs/policy.html

MedCertain Collaboration (2000) Evaluate a Website http://www.medcertain.org/old/English/Consumer/Evaluate_a_website/evaluate_a_website.htm

British Library and the University of Oxford (2000)The Discern Instrument http://www.discern.org.uk/discern__instrument.htm

Management Centre International Limited. Website Effectiveness Review http://www.mcil.co.uk/7-10-criteria.htm

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (1998) Health Information On-line http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/596_info.html

Copyright 2001, Kwantlen University College, British Columbia, Canada     Questions? wellness@kwantlen.bc.ca