Evaluating Health Information Found on the Internet

This checklist, taken from the National Library of Medicine, should be used as a tool for determining the credibility of online resources.


  • Who is in charge of the website?
  • Why are they providing the site?
  • Can you contact them?


  • Where does the money to support the site come from?
  • Does the site have advertisements?
  • Are they labelled?


  • Where does the information on the site come from?
  • How is the content selected?
  • Do experts review the information that goes on the site?
  • Does the site avoid unbelievable or emotional claims?
  • Is it up-to-date?


  • Does the site ask for your personal information?
  • Do they tell you how it will be used?
  • Are you comfortable with how it will be used?

Things to Remember!

Anyone can put up a webpage, but you want a trusted source.
  • How can you tell if a website is reliable? Start by asking the questions in the checklist and then decide whether you think it is a trusted source or not.
You can usually find the answers to these questions on the main page or the “About Us” page of a website.
  • This should be your first stop as it will say who is running the website and why.
  • Often you will find the company’s mission statement in the “About Us” section and you will learn if the site is run by health care professionals.
  • Next, check to see if there is a way to contact the organization running the site.
When reading the mission, find out if the services are free or if the unspoken purpose might be to sell you something.
  • A site with a shopping cart as the main item may have a high priority to sell you something. Is the advertisement clearly identified?
Now that you know who is running the site and why, look at where the information comes from and who writes it to determine if it is high‑quality.
  • An editorial board, selection policy or review process by a Board of Directors will only approve information that meets their rules for quality.
  • Good sites should rely on medical research, not on opinion and the information should be unbiased.
  • Biased information is usually a sign that it is supported by a drug company who wants to sell their product.
Information about the research study should be provided for your reference along with a link to the source so that you can verify the quality of the information.
  • Check to see that the information is current.
  • Out of date information can be hazardous as it may not reflect the latest research or treatments.
If a site asks you to “sign up” or “become a member” look for a privacy policy to see how the site will use your personal information.
  • Only share information or sign up if you understand how your personal information will be used and if you are comfortable with it.

A List of Reputable Organizations for Health Information >>>

This list does not contain ALL reputable sources, but it can provide a start for midwives who are searching for accurate information online.