Internet as an information source
During the assignment, you will learn:
- To understand that the reliability of information consists of several factors.
- To use the DARTS checklist to assess the reliability of information on medicines found on the Internet.
Assignment to be printed out
Progress of the assignment
Discuss on what bases the reliability of Web pages can be assessed.
1. Familiarise yourself with the DARTS checklist with the interactive ThingLink image. The image shows the main points and their criteria in the DARTS checklist. You can open the ThingLink image in a new tab here.
2. Use a search engine to find information about medicines or their use. You can come up with the search word yourself or use the example search words: Correct use of medicine, painkiller, medicines and the flu. How many pages did you find?
3. Assess the pages of five different operators according to the DARTS checklist:
- Who is the author of the text? Is he or she a qualified expert in his or her field?
- Is the information up-to-date?
- What is the purpose of the text? Is it an advertisement, an opinion piece, or does it seek to provide objective information?
- Who finances the page?
- Does the site tell you what its information is based on? Can the references be traced easily?
- To whom is the website targeted?
- What is the main message of the website?
- Which of the websites you found are reliable?
Discuss the types of reliable and unreliable pages you found. Compare the pages you found and the conclusions made from them. Give grounds for your answers.
For the teacher
It is a good idea to reserve one lesson for this assignment. The assignment can be implemented in a group or alone. This assignment supports the health education objectives O6, O8 and O12 and content areas C2 and C3 of the Finnish national core curriculum.
This assignment gives a concrete example of how difficult it is to assess the reliability of information, as clear answers to the questions asked cannot necessarily be found. The most important thing is to make the pupils more aware of the fact that you should not trust all information found on the Internet and that a website that looks sleek is not a guarantee that the information will be reliable.
More information on the DARTS checklist can be found on Fimea’s Medicines information for the public website. The criteria of the DARTS checklist can also be used in assessing the reliability of other health information.