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Health & Nutrition - Longview

This page provides resources for the study of human health and nutrition. Related course: BIOL 132 and any other course with an emphasis on human health.

Understand the Types of Sites Available

  • Advocacy sites – These web sites usually present views of a particular group or association. The URL address of the page frequently ends in .org. Some health advocacy sites, like http://www.diabetes.org/ are excellent resources for health information. Other advocacy sites are trying to sell ideas, like http://www.fructose.org/ .  BEWARE - Not all .org sites are even legitimate!  (Ex: http://www.diabeteslead.org/)
  • Business/Marketing sites – Sponsored by a commercial enterprise (usually it is a page trying to promote or sell products, or makes money from embedded advertising). The URL address of the page frequently ends in .com. (http://www.americandiabetes.com/). Some commercial sites offer information and research but it usually supports the product or service they are trying to sell.
  • News Pages – Primary purpose is to provide extremely current information. The URL address of the page usually ends in .com. Newspapers and magazines often summarize current research but are not the original source of the research. Example: U.S. News & World Report Article.
  • Informational Sites – Purpose is to present factual information. The URL address frequently ends in .edu or .gov, since educational institutions or government agencies sponsor many of these pages. (www.medlineplus.gov) Be aware that students can publish on .edu sites and not all information you find on an .edu is credible or peer-reviewed.

Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

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  1. Consider the Source
    • Who is responsible for the content? Is there a possibility of bias?
  2. Focus on Quality
    • Does the site have an editorial board? Who wrote this information?
  3. Be a Cyberskeptic
    • Does the site make health claims that seem too good to be true? Are they asking you to buy something?
  4. Look for the Evidence
    • Is the claim based on research? What study? Is it opinion?
  5. Check for Currency
    • When was the site published or last updated?

>Adapted from MedlinePlus.gov

Helpful Health & Nutrition Websites

Evaluating the Quality of the Website

The internet is completely unregulated and uncensored, with no constraints on the information that can be posted. On the internet, each individual can be his/her own publisher, and many are. As in any research process, users should critically consider the source as they evaluate online information. Use the C.O.S.T. (Content, Objectivity, Source, Timeliness) method and questions to help evaluate:


Content
• Is it comprehensive?
• Are sources for factual information listed so they can be verified?
• Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and other typographical errors?
• Is the author’s conclusion based on sound and reasoned argument? Supported by evidence?

Objectivity
• What is the purpose of the site? To inform? To sell something? To persuade? To entertain?
• Beware of advertising that influences content – is there a conflict of interest?
• Is there evidence of bias?

Source
• Who is the author/editor of the site? What are their credentials? Are these credentials verifiable?
• Read the site documentation (list of sources, bibliography, etc.)
• Can the legitimacy of the sponsoring individual, company or organization be verified?
• Check registered domain owners with WHOIS: http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jhtml

Timeliness
• How current is it?
• Are there dates on the page to indicate: When the page was written? When the page was first placed on the Web? When the page was last revised?