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CAR Autism Roadmap
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CAR Autism Roadmap
Roberts Center for Pediatric Research
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Evaluating Internet Resources


The Internet can be a useful resource for information. Unlike most print resources such as magazines, journals, and books that go through a filtering process (for example, editing, peer review, or library selection), anyone can post information on the Internet. You can find high quality information as well as dangerous advice. Using and citing information found over the Internet is a little like swimming without a lifeguard. The following guide provides a starting point for evaluating the websites and other Internet information.

Who is providing the information?

  • There should be a link to an "About Us" page.

Check for the following:

  • Who supervises postings to the site?
  • Is it checked by a government agency, university, or group of experts?
  • Is it clear who wrote the material?
  • There is a big difference between a site that says "I created this site after my child's heart surgery" and one that says "This page was created by the American Heart Association."
  • Look for the author's credentials such as Mary Jones, RN, or Robert Brown, MD. However, credentials don't necessarily imply knowledge just as the lack of credentials doesn't mean the information is not accurate.
  • Is there a phone number or mailing address to contact for more information? If there is no contact information, be careful.

Is the information correct?

  • Are the sources for any facts clearly listed?
  • Be careful if the information is "too good to be true," if it promises things like "miracle cures."
  • Get a second opinion! Check more than one site.
  • Are there excessive grammar, spelling, or other errors? Beware of CAPITAL LETTERS and Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it clear who has the ultimate responsibility for the content?

  • Reliable healthcare information usually comes from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and universities.

Who funds the site?

  • Is the information provided as a public service or is the organization providing the site trying to sell something?
  • Is there advertising? It should be separate from the main content and clearly marked as ‘advertisement" or "from our sponsor."

Is the information current? Healthcare is always changing:

  • When was the page written?
  • When was the page placed on the web?
  • When was the page last revised?

Is your privacy protected?

  • Read the Privacy Policy on the site. If it says something like "we share information with companies that can provide you with useful products," then your information is not kept private.

Have you spoken with your healthcare professional?

  • The Internet should not be your only source of healthcare information. Share what you have learned with your healthcare professional, and include him or her in your decision making process.
The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.