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Evaluating Websites

Test Yourself!

Each of the websites below provides information related to childhood vaccination. Practice evaluating each site for yourself: do you feel like you can trust any of these sites? Do they provide accurate, reliable information? Are they operating from an obvious bias? Are they providing information that you can use (either for academic research or for personal reasons)?

Evaluation Tips

  • Consult a number of sources. This is the surest way to guarantee that you are getting accurate, reliable information.
  • Fact check against reputable and trustworthy sources like Britannica Academic or other encyclopedias.
  • Keep an eye out for advocacy web pages. Although they may provide valuable information that you can use, it is good to be aware of an organization's agenda, if they have one.
  • Be proactive! You can't evaluate a website just by looking at it. Click on links, do outside Google searches, reverse search for images, etc.

Ask Yourself...

  • Do I want to believe the information on this website? Do I not want to believe it?
  • Does the content of this website evoke a strong emotional reaction in me? Is this affecting my inclination to use a source and believe it?
  • Is this website trying to evoke an emotional reaction? Is it trying to appeal to my emotions? 

Remember...

  1. Click through the website and links, don't just try to evaluate a website from one page.
  2. Examine all aspects of a website, including the links, advertisements, URL, format, and content.
  3. Do outside research! Even if you just perform a quick Google search, find out as much as you can about the author, publisher, organization, research, etc. If you see something you're not familiar with or don't understand, look it up.
  4. Check other sources! Always compare the information that you find on one website with information from another site or source.