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Nursing: Identify & Evaluate

General information and research help for the Nursing department.

Checking Your Sources - Nursing

When trying to decide if a source is a credible source, remember to keep some things in mind. Remember to check the accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency,  coverage, and consistency of the source. In this example, we will be focusing on the website Medscape, at www. It looks more or less like this:



Does your page list the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him or her?

Why is this important?

Check to see where this source gets its information from. If you have any doubts or issues, you may want to check with the authors/creators. If you have no way of doing either of these things, the information is unverifiable, and could very well be wrong or misleading.



Does your page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net)?

One way to to help you evaluate your website is to determine the type of website you have found. Look at the URL. What does it say?

.com = commercial site
.edu = educational site
.gov = U.S. government site
.org = non-profit organization site (usually, but not always)
.mil = U.S. military sites and agencies
.net = networks/Internet Service Providers

Even though this is a commercial, for-profit site, that doesn't mean the information is inaccurate. Check references and sources.

Check out some of the contributers to the website as well. Look at their credentials:

Other Considerations


Is it objective in presenting the information? Is the information false or misleading? Is it using emotional or inflammatory language in order to manipulate the reader?


Is your page current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and are the links (if any) are also up-to-date? Check the copyright dates at the bottom of the page as well as the date individual articles are written.


Can you view the information properly--not limited to fees, browser technology, or software requirement?


Does the information provided by your page generally coincide with other authoritative sources?

Your Turn!

Check out this website:

Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus!

The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Would you cite this as a legitimate source for your paper? It may look like the information is accurate, but is it? Is it a clever (or malicious) hoax? Check it for accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and coverage. Does it still hold up? Would you cite it in your paper? Would you give this charity money? (I wouldn't. Octopuses don't have any pockets!)

Remember, even though this is a funny (and harmless) website, false information abounds on the internet. Check your sources!