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HSCI 438: International Health

Health Agency Website

When looking for global health agencies or organizations that are focused on addressing your topic, you will likely find the agency's information on a website. In light of this, it is important that you understand how to evaluate a website.

Try your best to move beyond the website's landing page or homepage. Look for an 'about' or 'about us' page, tab, or button. This page may provide you with critical information about who or what the agency/organization is, their mission, values, staff, role, etc.  

Below are some tools to help you evaluate websites.   

Evaluating Websites

In this video you will learn: How to determine if a website is a good source for your assignment.

Evaluating Websites: URL Domains

The following is a list of the most popular domain extensions, which can help in determining the authority of a website. However, domain extensions alone cannot determine if a web source is quality or if it's right for your research. 

.gov - Government

.edu - Educational institution

.com - Commercial

.org - Organization, usually non-profit

.net - Network, usually personal webpages

Evaluate Scholarly Sources

What are Scholarly/Academic/Peer-reviewed Sources?

Scholarly/academic/peer-reviewed sources are sources written by experts and are reviewed by experts in the field before the article is published.

 

Why Do I Need to Evaluate Scholarly Sources?

You may consider scholars with subject expertise have authority in the area of your research topic and thus produce only good sources. However, like all types of sources and authorities, scholarly sources vary a lot by date, scope, method, and etc, making only some of them appropriate to cite in your research. Scholarly sources may have totally valid evidence but not so relevant to your research. 

 

How Do I Evaluate Scholarly Sources?

Finding a good scholarly source to use can sometimes be a messy process, but below are some questions you can ask yourself in order to determine if the academic article is worth using in your research.

  • Date: Some topics, such as those in the health sciences, require current information. Other subjects, such as geology, value older material as well as current. Know the time needs of your topic and examine the timeliness of the article; is it:
    • up-to-date,
    • out-of-date, or
    • timeless?
  • Usefulness: Is the article relevant to the current research project? A well-researched, well-written, etc. article is not going to be helpful if it does not address the topic at hand. Ask, "is this article useful to me?" If it is a useful article, does it:
    • support an argument
    • refute an argument
    • give examples (survey results, primary research findings, case studies, incidents)
    • provide "wrong" information that can be challenged or disagreed with productively
  • Impact: Scholars have combined standard research metrics, like scholarly output and citation counts, into formulas to measure and assess author and journal impact in new ways. There are usually different types of metrics for different purposes, but in general, you can pay attention to
    • the number of times an article was cited to evaluate the scholarly output of a scholar
    • the number of times articles published for a journal to evaluate the impact of a journal
    • metrics in databases as shown below

 

More information about factors to consider when evaluating scholarly articles

More information about understanding impact 

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