Evaluating Credibility in Everyday Sources of Information

As critical consumers of information, it is necessary to evaluate the credibility and legitimacy of resources, especially on the Internet. In a world of free information, which is without guidelines, monitoring, and representation, truth and lies can be as difficult to determine as the supermarket tabloids in the checkout stands. Anyone can post anything in a matter of seconds and it is up to you to determine if the information is nonfiction or fiction. The authors of seemingly legitimate emails take advantage of your personal information, selling to third parties and stealing money or credit. Also, while search engines come in handy for locating a particular topic, they have become excellent advertising tools, giving top priority to the sites with the most number of hits and key words. Blogs have become inundated with ads that distract you from the author’s purpose, which may be fact or opinion-based on current or outdated information. It has become increasingly difficult to find objective information without an ulterior motive in today’s technological era.

As CAPPA certified professionals, it is important that you promote the critical examination of resources by being a good research role model for clients and colleagues. This difficult task can be achieved by practicing the three C’s of and five basic criteria for evaluating sources. The three C’s of evaluating sources include compare, corroborate, and context. Perform the following steps:

  1. Compare the source with another source.
  2. Corroborate the information by comparing it with multiple sources.
  3. Learn about the context of the information.

The five basic criteria for evaluating sources include accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and coverage. Ask the following questions:

  1. Is the information error-free?
  2. Who is supplying the information and are they qualified to do so?
  3. Is the information bias-free?
  4. Is the currency of the information appropriate for the field or topic?
  5. Are all relevant aspects of the subject covered without leaving out any important information?

By learning how to evaluate credibility in everyday sources, CAPPA certified pregnancy fitness educators, childbirth educators, lactation educators, new parent educators, antepartum doulas, labor doulas, hospital labor doulas, and postpartum doulas are able to provide the most current, evidence-based education and support to clients. Rather than email lists, search engines, and blogs, you are viewed as the professional they turn to for the most objective, non-medical advice and services, referring to other healthcare providers as necessary. If you have not already, perhaps it is time to consider stepping outside your local comfort zone and expanding your online presence. Try starting your own blog, vlog, or newsletter subscription, educating your audience on credible topics that you are considered an expert on in your field. By being a lifeline in a web of tangled information, you will be able to help more families and colleagues find objective information without an ulterior motive, except to dispel the lack of credibility and legitimacy of resources on the Internet.

Katrina Fuller

Childbirth Educator & Lactation Educator Faculty

Katrina Fuller, Ed.D, CPBF, CPFE, CCCE, CCTE, CLE®, CAPD, CLD, CPD, CHT, CHW, BPC, IBCLC, DSIII, RMT is the owner and manager of Natural Nesters, providing pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and breastfeeding education, support, and integral therapy services in Hobbs, New Mexico since 2008. She also serves as the New Mexico CAPPA Childbirth and Lactation Educator Faculty Member, New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force – Lea County Chapter Chair, and New Mexico Lead WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. Katrina has a bachelor’s in Elementary Education, master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, and doctorate in Teacher Leadership. After attending a breastfeeding peer counselor training, she was inspired to obtain certifications as a Prenatal Bonding Facilitator; Pregnancy Fitness, Childbirth, Teen, and Lactation Educator; Antepartum, Labor, and Postpartum Doula; Lactation Consultant; Community Health Worker; Developmental Specialist; and Reiki Master. She strives to utilize her background in education to teach classes for families, facilitate trainings for professionals, and contribute to the body of current, evidence-based research. Katrina is happily married with three children, having experience as a single, teenage mother; married, stay-at-home wife; and work-at-home tandem nurser. To contact her, please visit www.naturalnesters.com or email katrina.fuller@naturalnesters.com.

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