Dr. Elliott: Identifying Reliable Sources of Information on the Web
Here are some tips to help you sort it all out.
Today, the World Wide Web is the main source of information on almost every subject. Just input any topic in the search bar of your browser and you will instantly see a wave of web sites spring up that address your topic.
Some corporations are paying enormous fees for better page positioning and paying for your “click” to go to their web site. Websites can originate from anywhere around the globe. It’s important to remember that the health information on a website can be written by anyone - a doctor, a college student, a bus driver, a florist, etc. There is no guarantee that the author is a qualified expert on the topic they are discussing. Currently, there are no guidelines or specific requirements limiting who can write articles on the web.
Recently, I was asked to attend a symposium on dog food by a veterinarian, and the various health benefits of his food. Not knowing this person, I went to his website and discovered that his products were recalled during the pet food recall. The ingredient profile was not one I would expect to see from a “knowledgeable” animal nutritionist.
The bulk of animal products for sale, along with information pertaining to various health ailments, have tremendously grown on the web. Some pet products are very good, while some are very bad. How can you tell the difference from truthful health information on the web and healthy products to purchase? Here are some guidelines to help you sort through the huge maze of resources and the information they provide:
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1. Wikipedia - an excellent site providing very good information, which is both thorough and reliable. It also offers alternative sources of references to further enhance the information it provides.
2. Ingredients - avoid by-products, dyes, preservatives, propylene glycol, sugars, blood (plasma), soy and corn.
3. Research - check all sources used in the articles you have chosen, its author, and website presenting the information.
4. Ask the author questions via e-mail - this is easy to do in most instances. In cases where this option is not readily available, contact the owner of the website via email (this is almost always available) for additional information regarding the author.
5. Check the author's credentials - see if they have any published works; go to Barnes & Noble, Borders, e-bay, Amazon, etc.
6. Check product quality - see if the pet products are made in the
USA, if natural and/or organic ingredients from the are used, and if they are quality assured, rather than synthetic ingredients from an undisclosed source. A reputable website will contain a complete explanation of all ingredients used in their products. USA
For additional information, please feel free email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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