The ABC's of evaluating websites
There is no quality control or peer review on the Internet. Therefore, it is important that Internet users are able to critically appraise the quality of the information they come across. Here are some criteria to consider applying to websites.
Authority – can you identify who wrote the information, and is that person or organization a reputable resource?
Accuracy – is the information reproducible or cited by other sources?
Bias – are there conflicts of interest, i.e. is the company selling a product or do the website organizers have a specific agenda? Are the goals or aims of the website clearly stated?
Currency – when was the webpage last updated? Are the links up-to-date?
Comprehension – is the information written at an appropriate level for its audience? How does the information compare with other sources on this topic?
Although textbooks may go through a peer review and editing process, it is still important for you to take a critical look at the information you find in a textbook. Here are some criteria to consider applying to websites.
The worksheets on this page were created by Duke University and adapted from Duke University and McMaster Evidence-based Practice Workshops and Users' Guide to the Medical Literature 3rd Ed.
For more information about appraising articles, see Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives guide to Evidence-Based Practice: Appraise.
Suggested best studies: randomized controlled trials > cohort studies > observational studies
Suggested best studies: prospective, blind comparison to gold standard
Suggested best studies: cohort study > case control > case series
Suggested best studies: RCT > cohort > case control > case series