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Interpersonal and Communication Skills for Healthcare Professionals: Criteria for Evaluating Web Resources

This guide is designed to help students in NURS 20010 learn about library resources and information literacy important to nurses and healthcare workers.

Evaluating Web Resources

To determine the quality and intent of a web resource, some criteria should be considered:

 

Domain name extension

The part of the URL or web address at the end of the domain name (last decimal point or last decimal point before the first forward slash /):

 

            http://www.amazon.com

            http://www.irs.gov/individuals/index.html

 

Common domain name extensions as an evaluating criterion:

 

Extension

Type of Web Site

Typical characteristics

.com

Commercial

For profit business or internet provider that allows customers to host private web sites

.net

Network

Similar to .com, primarily internet providers

.org

Organization

Not for profit organizations, may be informational or to promote a particular point of view

.gov

Government

Government site presenting public documents

.edu

Education

Educational (usually higher) institutions

 

Authority

The person(s) or organizations creating the content.  If known, are their credentials discernable?  How do you know if this authority is credible and unbiased?

 

Objectivity (Purpose/Context)

Is the intent of the web site to inform and/or educate in an impartial manner or is the purpose to persuade and provide an unbalanced point of view?  Do you need to pay to get more information?

 

Accuracy (Supporting Evidence)

Is the site based on documented facts?  Does the site list references or inform the user where data and facts were obtained?  Are they unsupported, requiring you to find out if the information is accurate?

 

Currency

Can you tell when the content was created?  Is there a date?  Could the information be outdated?

 

Usability (Quantity of Information)

Is it easy to get around (navigate) this site? Can you quickly get from one page to another within the site?  Is there extensive discussion and presentation of the content or are there few web pages with marginal information?

 

In the end, there are no formal mechanisms for determining the quality and usefulness of web sites.  You alone must decide using the criteria above whether or not the web site is a valuable resource or a dubious source of information.