Searching the Internet and Assessing Information Quality

Publication ID Published Version
8441 September 12, 2011 1


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 (Ivanitskaya 2006). 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. Available from:​publication/​8441​10.15766/​mep_2374-8265.8441

Educational Objectives

This Learning Module will help you master advanced methods for searching the Internet and allow you to comprehensively evaluate the information quality of health-related Websites. First, I will ask you to post your opinions about the Google generation on the module's blog. Then, you will watch two short podcasts and go through the associated readings. After you are done with the readings, you can access a graded assignment in which you will review messages regarding amalgam toxicity posted on the newsgroup A practice test will allow you to assess your knowledge.


  • Informatics (MeSH), Search Engine (MeSH), Information Storage and Retrieval (MeSH), Information Quality Discipline, eHealth


  • Dental
    • Critical Thinking


  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Practice-based Learning & Improvement

Professional Interest

  • Health Education
  • Instructional Materials/Methods

Instructional Methods

  • Independent Learning
  • Tutorial

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Dental Student


  • Reference

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ISSN 2374-8265