Website Evaluation Exercise

Submitter Information

Author: Lisa Day, RN PhD
Title: Assistant Clinical Professor
Institution: UCSF, School of Nursing, Dept. of Physiological Nursing
Coauthors: Elaine L. Smith RN, MSN, MBA, CNAA, QSEN Project Manager, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US

Competency Category(s)
Evidence-Based Practice, Informatics, Patient-Centered Care, Quality Improvement, Safety

Learner Level(s)
New Graduates/Transition to Practice, Pre-Licensure ADN/Diploma, Pre-Licensure BSN, RN to BSN

Learner Setting(s)

Strategy Type
Independent Study

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • demonstrate skill in locating and accessing electronic information
  • demonstrate skills in evaluating health-related information found on the internet
  • demonstrate skills at teaching patient/family strategies for evaluating web-based information
  • demonstrate attitudes and behaviors that show that they are beginning to internalize responsibility of professional nurse in ensuring patients/clients receive quality information

Strategy Overview

Students are assigned to identify learning needs of patients/clients she/he is assigned to that day and to search for web sites that address these needs. Using either of the two resources listed below1,2, and/or other similar resources, the students evaluate the quality of the web sites and complete the Health Information on the Internet: Evaluation Criteria form . In a clinical conference, students discuss their process in finding and evaluating websites and compile a list of high quality websites that can be shared with the nurses on the unit(s). In discussion with the patient/family, students then present the information they have found and describe the evaluation criteria that should be used when searching for health information on the internet.

For an alternative classroom-based assignment, faculty can select 5-10 websites at random for students to evaluate.

  1. Health Summit Working Group’s policy paper, Criteria for Assessing the Quality of Health Information on the Internet (accessed 3/18/2006)
  2. Internet Healthcare Coalition, Tips for Healthy Surfing Online:Finding Quality Health Information on the Internet (accessed 3/18/2006)

Submitted Materials

Additional Materials

Evaluation Description

Students are evaluated on how thoroughly they address the criteria for website evaluation.

In my experience students are always eager to use the internet as a source of information but less adept at evaluating the content they find there. This assignment shows then that, as healthcare professionals, they can no longer take information at face value but must apply reasonable evaluation criteria. The students are at first frustrated but ultimately find the exercise to be eye-opening and valuable in preparing them to best serve their patients. I am tempted to make students complete a web evaluation tool each time the use a website as a reference for a paper or other assignment!