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Pharmacy Literature Search Skills

Critical Appraisal Resources

Evaluating Websites

Critically appraising any health information is essential. Ask questions about:

  • Who authored the information? Have other professionals reviewed it?
  • What biases might they have? Have they taken steps to limit bias?
  • Is the methodology used appropriate?
  • When was the last update?

 

In Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, author Mike Caulfield identifies "four moves" for evaluating claims found on the web:

  • "Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research.
  • Go upstream to the source: ...Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
  • Read laterally: ...Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
  • Circle back: If you get lost, or hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions."

 

UBC Library has also developed a tutorial for evaluating websites and other information sources: