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Resource Guide for DIY Health Zine Saturday

This guide is a resource for participants in the DIY Health Zine Saturday event. It provides guidance on evaluating online health resources as well as an overview of the zine collections and resources available at UH.

Finding Credible Health Information Online

There is a huge amount of health information online. Some sites are reliable, and some are not. It can be difficult to sort through all the available information and determine which websites are accurate. Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for online health information:

  • Does the page look professional?
    • Are there broken links? Low-resolution images?
  • Who is the author of the page?
    • This should be easy to identify.
    • Once you do identify the author, think about whether or not they seem trustworthy. Are they trying to sell you something? Do they have a background or training in medicine?

                      MedlinePlus logo with NIH National Library of Medicine author info visible

  • Has the page been recently updated?
    • Is there a date stamp indicating when the page was last updated or checked for accuracy? If so, is the date recent? Some sites will include an overall statement about the schedule on which they check/update content instead of a date stamp on each page.

                     A screenshot of the bottom of a page indicating when it was last updated

  • Does the page have ads?
    • Ads do not necessarily mean a website isn't trustworthy, but it does introduce potential bias to the content. For example, someone who runs a website that includes ads from drug companies may feel pressure to mention those drugs in its health content. Does the site include an ethical statement about any ads it does have?
  • Does the page cite sources for its health information?
    • Most health websites are secondary sources which summarize the results of multiple medical studies. Summaries can be extremely helpful - however, ideally they should give you enough information about the original studies to allow you to track down and evaluate them for yourself.

                     A list of references from a consumer health website.

A trustworthy health website should look professional, state clearly who its author is, be updated regularly, be upfront about ads, and be transparent about the sources of its information.