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Foundations of Clinical Medicine-1: Web Resources

This guide organizes information for use for each of the cases for the M1 FCM course in Urbana.

Evaluating Internet Information

You will probably want to use information found on the internet for your case, but you need to determine what information is useful to your case and what is not.  

You want to present professional information, not information that anyone can find on the first page of results using Google.  Remember, you are the expert presenting your case.

Types of Web Resources

Health information online can be grouped into five types of sites.  Each has positives and can provide useful information, but it is important to recognize each type and the information it presents.  It is up to you to determine how useful a website is for your handout.

Business and Marketing

Business and marketing sites are usually published by corporations and their purpose is to promote the company, its services, and products.  These sites frequently have information, but it may steer you towards buying their product or only give the company's side of the information.

Examples: 

News & Current Events

News or current events sites provide up to date information and can include tv networks, newspapers, and magazines.  They usually do not cite where they get their information and may base an entire article off of a press release from a company or organization.

Examples:

Advocacy

Sites in the advocacy category are typically created by an organization to influence public opinion. The URL may end in .org (organization), but they may only present one site of the information available.

Examples:

Informational

Informational sites provide factual information on a topic.  While these sites may appear useful, often they are other types of sites that are disguised as informational.  It is important to evaluate informational sites using the CRAAP test on this page.  Informational site are more likely to provide information geared towards the patient, not the practitioner.

Examples: 

Personal

Personal websites are published by individuals.  These sites can include almost anything and the individual may be an accomplished researcher, a faculty member, an individual with an agenda, or someone telling their story.  

 

CRAAP Test

The CRAAP Test, developed by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico, provides a list ofo criteria to evaluate information online.  You should ask yourself the following questions to determine if you should use a source.

Currency

  • Does the page display a published or last updated date?
  • Does your topic need up to date information, or is older information acceptable?
  • Are links on the page up to date?

Relevance

  • Is the content relevant to your topic or question?
  • What is the scope and focus of the site?
  • Who is the intended audience?  Is it at a patient or practitioner level?
  • Is this the best source for the information you need?

Authority

  • Who is the author, publisher, source, or sponsor of the site?  Is the author clearly identified?
  • What are the authors' credentials or organizational affiliation?
  • Is the author qualified to write about the subject?
  • Can you easily contact the author for clarification or more information?  Is the contact information easy to find?
  • Does the website look professional?  Is it hosted on its own domain?

Accuracy

  • Where does the website come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?  Does it cite the original source of information?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed by a peer?
  • Is there an explanation of the methods used to collect the information?

Purpose

  • What is the purpose or type of the website?  Is is for business, informational, or advocacy?
  • Is the information presented fact or opinion?  Has a 3rd party reviewed the information?
  • Is the material impartial, free of bias (i.e. religious, political, or cultural), and lacking emotion?
  • Are the website's sponsors clear?  Does the website have an advertising policy or conflict of interest statement?

Sources

Information on this page is adapted from Nova Southeastern University's "Evaluate Sources - "CRAAP Test" page at http://nova.campusguides.com/evaluate (accessed July 21, 2016) and California State University, Chico's "Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test" page at https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf (accessed July 21, 2016).