It’s very important to determine whether a source of medical information is credible. Spend time studying the website, author, and other characteristics of your source before deciding if it should help you make important decisions.

Here are a few questions to answer and habits to follow:

  • Does the website have a store?
    If so, the author may have a direct monetary incentive to deceive you.
  • Who is the author? What are their credentials and reputation?
    Do a little digging on Google to find out. If there’s no author listed, and the website is not a scientific or government agency, that further reduces credibility.
  • Has the author provided citations that can be found easily?
    If not, it will be far more difficult to research their claims.
  • Are cited sources likewise credible?
    In some cases, authors link to their own articles or website rather than to credible unrelated sources.
  • Are the claims counter to scientific consensus?
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
  • Are the claims based on a single study?
    Single studies are often disproven upon further, extensive investigation.
  • Is the author quote mining?
    Quote mining is the selection of phrases or sentences taken out of context from elsewhere and presented as the entire quotation. This deceptive practice typically distorts the speaker’s intended meaning. Find and read the original quotation in its context. Then you can determine if the information is accurate as presented.
  • Are there distracting grammatical and spelling errors?
    Credible sites watch writing accuracy closely.

Further Reading