Sources of Health Information: Overview & Reliability

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  • 0:01 One Mission, One Man,…
  • 0:32 Internet Forums, Blogs…
  • 3:47 The Most Credible…
  • 5:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

The Internet is full of information and misinformation. This lesson will teach you how to identify the major sources of health information and determine if they are truly credible.

One Mission, One Man, One World

FBI Officer B. Ware got a call this morning from his very bossy boss, Max Power. Max tells him a virus is spreading all over the country, killing millions of people, and it will be his job to figure out what this virus could be within an hour, or else he's fired!

Not having much time, B. Ware is well aware that he needs to be wary about where he gets his facts. One wrong source of information and millions of people may die!

Internet Forums, Blogs, and Media

Knowing this virus can be just about anything, he knows his best bet to find quick and accessible information is through the use of an Internet search engine. So he logs into Foogles. Everyone knows that Foogles has every answer to absolutely everything in one short sentence! 'You can't be fooled with Foogles' is the company's byline, so it can't be wrong!

B. Ware types in some descriptors of the virus to hopefully ID what this virus is. He pulls up a website straight out of 1998 in its design with a bunch of odd usernames, like Nick Name and Luna Tick, professing to be experts. For some hilarious reason, they are all arguing and swearing that they each know the cure for this virus thanks to information handed down from their grandmothers. This happens to be an Internet forum, a platform where unidentified users can post messages to one another. Since the users here are completely anonymous and all claim to have the right answers despite each having a different answer, B. Ware doesn't care much for this information; it's untrustworthy, lacks any credibility, and he moves on.

The next search result opens up a blog, a website where usually one person writes personal messages and musings about a topic or several topics. But this blog happens to be written by a man named Phil Osopher. Phil is writing down his thoughts about what the virus could be. Unlike our Internet forum, the person's real name is supposedly revealed. However, Phil Osopher provides no credentials as to his area of expertise, and no references to any credible sources are given for any of the things Phil is writing down. Because of this, B. ware is not willing to stare at this source of information for too long. He's down to less than 45 minutes to find the answer!

The next result Foogles shows B. Ware turns out to be a media source, The Daily Ratings Grabber. There's a news piece, complete with a video, written by Dale E. Paper. The real name is revealed, so that's good, and it's a well-known news source, so it's much more likely to be credible than a random blog or Internet forum. But Dale happens to be a journalist without an advanced science background writing about hard-core science.

Even when a journalist interviews credible doctors and scientists about the virus, the story doesn't always come out completely correct. This may occur because Dale E. Paper is unable to grasp the complexity of the virus and accidentally misinterprets an expert's words or simplifies the story to an inappropriate degree because he's limited to a certain word count. Or, perhaps only one side of the story is shown to get a better reaction for more ratings and therefore more advertisement revenue for his company. Therefore, B. Ware thinks this news story is full of hot air and tries to find something even more credible that tells him the full side of the story about this dangerous virus!

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