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How To Find and Critically Evaluate Health Information On The Web: Best Practices and Red Flags

Navigating the internet can be challenging and confusing.

Read below to find and critically evaluate health information on the web.

All information in this post was shared by presenters Vera Granikov, PhD and Virginie Paquet, Health Librarian will review best practices for searching, critically evaluating, and using or sharing health information we find on the web.

Host: https://osteoporosis.ca/Live Webinar: Oct 19, 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Re-play listen to presentation Oct 22, 2021 https://osteoporosis.ca/news/oc-replay/


On line information Aid:

To help you find trustworthy information visit



If using google,

  1. Remember it is a search engine that the first ads that pop up are paid ones.
  2. “ quotation” marks around a critical word will help search that key word to narrow search and reinforce this is the key word wanting to search
  3. Know that everyone will get different results in google search since it is based on an individual’s search history


When looking up information on the web, ask yourself:


Who – who is behind the information. Look at the about us tab to understand qualifications and how sources the information posted


For example: if website ends in

.gov = means it is a government website

.edu = education institution

.com = commercial website

.ca = Canadian commercial site


What – what kind of information is a site sharing? Factual based on scientific research or opinion?


Where – where is this information coming from. If it is factual, then see if it list sources. Are these sources peer reviewed?


Why – why was this website created? Was it intended as a information site, for health care professionals, for consumers, for advertising? Also see who funds the site.


When – when was this website created, last update. For health care information, want the most current up to date information.


Red Flags

Anything that states: pharmaceutical, herbs, dietary supplement, promo of nontoxic, holistic, miraculous treatment


Check then Share: https://checkthenshare.ca/

Stop the spread of misinformation!!!

  1. First, READ the article from the beginning to the end
  2. Pause and think about the information
  • Check the sources (who is the author? is it factual? what are the sources? Is the sources peer reviewed scientific professionals?
  1. Triangulate – Where else does this information come up? Is it peer reviewed?


For example, it is fact that 65% of the covid misinformation is from a dozen individuals


Do a deep dive https://checkthenshare.ca/deepdive.html


Useful Websites:

Pub Med

 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/  this is a evidence based website that will allow you to get a summary of scientific articles. Plus there is a critical assessment section on the site too.


On line information Aid:



Understanding Scientific Research


Questions and Answers:

Reliability & Validity:  How can we ascertain the validity and reliability of info presented via podcasts and Facebook private groups promoting nutrition, fitness, lifestyle medicine?

Vera and Virginie are suggesting. What is the source, is there research to support what is being said.


Ads: If ads pop up on Mayo Clinic. Ads a way to sponsor the information. Mayo Clinic is a reliable source …Red flag to Be aware if ad pops up. Does not mean the mayo clinic endorses the ad.


Some Trusted Sources:


Mayo Clinic


Note:  Innovative Wellness tries our best to only post factual information based on the latest scientific evidence


Let us know if you find this post helpful.