Searching the Internet and Assessing Information Quality
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Teaching search skills is often considered not necessary for the current generation of incoming dental students. It is true that the degree of computer literacy for incoming students is gradually rising, but on the other hand even basic knowledge about computers is far from universal. For instance, a 2006 study found that nearly half of 308 participating college-age students enrolled in courses at the College of Health Sciences at a Midwestern university had trouble discriminating between primary and secondary sources and that two thirds of them were unable to understand or apply Boolean operators when searching. There is a difference between “digital comfort” and "technology proficiency.“ This resource attempts to improve students' “information fluency” or "information literacy" which can be defined as "the ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources" which has become a critical skill for professional students. As the Horizon 2010 report points out: "Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. The challenge is due to the fact that despite the widespread agreement on its importance, training in digital literacy skills and techniques is rare in any discipline..."
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Spallek H. Searching the internet and assessing information quality. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2011;7:8441. http://dx.doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8441
After completing this module, the learner will be able to:
1. Master advanced methods for searching the internet.
2. Comprehensively evaluate the information quality of health-related websites.
- Informatics, Search Engine, Information Storage and Retrieval, Information Quality Discipline, eHealth, Technology
Prior Scholarly Dissemination
This information is made available under the Creative Commons license.
Authors & Co-Authors
Heiko Spallek, MBA, DMD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine