Research Health Topics with Certainty
The internet is a beautiful thing, but the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips can sometimes do more harm than good when it comes to our health. Because anyone can put anything on the internet, there is often a ton of misinformation - which can have potentially negative side effects on even the most well-meaning individuals looking on ways to improve their health and wellness. Keep reading to find out how to find accurate information when skimming through the internet for your health-related questions.
Finding Credible Sites Online
The easiest way to ensure you are finding the most accurate information is to pull that information from credible websites. Credible websites do not always mean “.org” or “.gov,” but there are some key things you should look for to ensure the information is objective and backed by research. Check out these tips to ensure you are finding reliable websites:
- Look for references in the information they provide. Are they able to credit back their claims to science? Research validates thoughts, and is key when it comes to our wellness.
- Make sure the references are scientific in nature, they should link back to studies, not other opinion pieces like blogs or pages that are trying to sell a product related to the information presented.
- Visit the website that are subject matter experts. The National institute of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), USDA food composition database, and Harvard Health Publications are all great sites to find up to date information on.
- Become a scientific sleuth with PubMed. This is where all the historical and up-to-date health science research lives. It is sometimes hard to sort through all the articles, but if you truly want scientifically-backed information this is a great place to find it (and a good skill to learn).
…But There Was No Mention of Google?
I love Google as much as anyone else, but when it comes to reliability - proceed with cautious optimism. Google is organized by SEO (search engine optimization). That means sensationalized headlines and popular key words are rewarded over facts. Make sure if you are pulling information from Google, you are looking for references and research-backed validation, not just great headlines.
While we are on the topic… proceed with the utmost caution when consuming social media. Anyone, anywhere can call themselves a “health coach” and say whatever they want on a Facebook post, podcast, or Instagram story. Use your critical thinking skills when consuming this type of media (which we all do all day every day) and really try to dig deeper on who is giving their opinion. Do they have any licensure? What does their professional experience look like? Do they reference any other experts in their field? If not, think about whether you want to continue to consume their content or if there may be someone else who could better serve this role.
Do you think you are a good researcher? Do you consider validity when reading about health-related topics? We would love to hear from you! Connect with us on social media @the.musclestache!