Two of the most important kinds of information we look for online are about health and science. Because most of us aren’t experts on these topics, we rely on people and organizations who are experts for good information. MediaSmarts has developed new resources to help youth and adults find and recognize good information on science and health online.

Getting the Goods on Science and Health – Tip Sheet

Here are three tips to help you find good information about health and science topics.

  1. Check credentials

If the source is a person, start by checking that they really exist and that they are a genuine expert on that topic. Both doctors and scientists are usually specialists, so make sure that the source has credentials in the right field. A surgeon won’t necessarily be an expert in physics, for instance, and vice versa.

Evaluating Science and Health Information

Two of the most important kinds of information we look for online are about health and science. This section looks at how we get news and information about health and science topics, types of misinformation that are particularly common in those subjects, and steps we can take to determine how reliable a source or claim is.

Probably the most essential factor in accurately and objectively judging health and science information is to understand how science is done.

Though health and science topics are subject to the same kinds of misinformation found everywhere, there are two types that are particularly common in these fields: denialism and snake oil.

While many of us strongly prefer online sources when seeking out health and science information,[1] a majority first encounter health or science stories through traditional news outlets.[2]

Two of the most important kinds of information we look for online are about health and science. These can have a big effect on decisions we make about our own lives and our opinions on controversial issues.

This section will explore how to read election and political news critically, how to recognize misinformation (information that is incorrect) and disinformation (the deliberate spreading of false or misleading information), and how to be a more active and engaged consumer of political news.

Authentication and Citizenship

Being well-informed – and being careful to only share good information – are essential parts of being an active citizen in a democracy. It’s important to think before you share political information with family and friends – especially during an election.

Journalism has been described as the lifeblood of democracy,[1] and elections, likewise, have long been journalism’s bread and butter. The relationship between the two, however, has always been fraught. Even Thomas Jefferson, a lifelong advocate for freedom of the press, said while he was president that “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”