Turning to the internet for quick answers to life’s most difficult questions has created a generation of know-it-alls. Not that this is a judgment of the state of education, but given the propensity for false information to be spread without a filter, you need to be very discerning when it comes to knowing the difference between intern fact and internet fiction. The spread of misinformation occurs quickly through the internet. One particular area of concern is in healthcare. While the joke is that too many patients are self-diagnosing through sites like WebMD, following a self-proclaimed health expert simply because they are published on the internet could lead to some dangerous consequences. Here is some advice on how to navigate the web and evaluate how reliable a website or information may be.

1. Look at the Author

Look carefully at the organization or the individual that owns the website. The more research or sources presented to back up the information, there is a good chance that the authors will have taken care to become experts on the subject or at least present the expert work of others. There is some caution with websites that seem to turn a profit by presenting the works of others, whether credible or not. These sites cause confusion, asking about Bentham science predatory practices and publishing techniques that are focused on quantity rather than quality. However, in the case with Bentham Science materials, the articles presented on the website are peer-reviewed scholarly articles with information from the industries of science, engineering, and healthcare.

2. Look at the Date

While the website will have a publishing date for the site, look more specifically at the frequencies of the articles or topics that are released or added. If a website has materials that are outdated, then the information you may be reading might not be the most up-to-date. Information that isn’t current could be as damaging as misinformation.

3. Look Past the Headline

Many times a publisher will try to grab a reader’s attention with a sensational headline. As you read the article, think about where the originating source of information is mentioned or the details that support any headline claims. Materials that scream for attention or demand action without any solid research could be a red flag that the site is lacking in credibility.

4. Look Into the Science

If the site does provide sources for the information presented, dig a little deeper into the source. Check linked information to see if it cites a peer-reviewed article or an unfamiliar news site or personal blog. A credible site will direct its readers to a solid source of supplementary information in order to provide readers with the best education or understanding on a subject. Websites based on scientific research do not want to ruin their reputation with second-hand news.

5. Look at the Audience

You can tell a lot about a site by the people who engage with it. If you find that industry or field professionals are sharing information on the site or reposting the information on their own site, it can add confidence that the site is a solid source of information.

6. Look for More Information

At times, common sense can go a long way with looking through information for fact or fiction. If it seems to be too good to be true, then it probably isn’t the most accurate of information. This is especially true for sales sites with products in high demand, such as dieting tools or health supplements. If something doesn’t seem right, email the site administrator or leave a comment.

The internet is a great resource for many things. Use diligence and caution when seeking new information, taking care to rely on credible websites and authoritative sources for your decision-making.

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