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Evaluating a Website for Credibility Essay

A search for men’s health related website conducted using the public search engine Google.com. Men’s Health Network (MHN), http://www.menshealthnetwork.org, is a nonprofit organization reaching out to males and their families focusing on the growing health crisis that affect the premature mortality of men (Men’s Health Network, 2014). Approximately 50% of the population is male; evaluating the sites credibility is important when using it as an educational tool for male patients related to prevention and management of health.

Evaluation of website

MHN is comprised of spokespersons and advisory board. The website discloses a limited list of spokespersons with title and areas of educational focus. The site states, “…there are over 800 physicians, mental health experts, and other key thought leaders among the MHN Board of Advisors…” (Men’s Health Network, 2014). The readability of the website is not technical, the average person will be able to read the information on the site and be able to understand the intent of the organizations message. The information that is presented is accurate but referencing to studies and citations are lacking or difficult to find. Brief explanations of diseases are summarized followed by links to outside sources such as the American Urology Association, National Institute of Health, or Journal of Men’s Health for additional information.

MHN is sponsored by monetary donations from the public as well as internships to promote education to the public and policy makers related to men’s health (Men’s Health Network, 2014). Partnerships are publicly display at the bottom of the website and range from for-profit drug companies such as Glaxo Smith Kline, Bayer and Pfizer as well as nonprofit organizations such as Boy Scouts of America and Veterans Health Council. Since the number of for-profit partnerships with MHN supersedes the nonprofit partnerships, one can view the information provided on MHN as favoring the for profit companies despite MHN having links to outside sources for information on diseases.

MHN website navigation is user friendly with headings at the top of the web pages that are identical on every page. The font utilized is clear, easy to read, and not strenuous on the eyes. All links in headings are operational and link phrases are clearly described to target page. MHN security link states commitment to ensuring user privacy and that any information collected is used only in accordance to the November 2012 policy (Men’s Health Network, 2014). MHN informs that the website will request permission to place “cookies” on user’s computer.

The term “cookie” is defined and gives the user informed consent. MHN clearly states that clicking links to partnerships and outside sources link takes the user away from MHN site and states, “we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement.” (Men’s Health Network, 2014).

Empirical evidence

Building credibility for a website requires providing links to reputable organizations which increase traffic, thereby increasing its relevance in search outcomes (Calabro, 2010). MHN achieves this with a banner containing links to other organizations for the reader to get additional information, but the sites that the reader is linked to do not always reciprocate a link back. Calabro (2010) suggests that updating the home page regularly with updated graphics, information, and testimonials are vital to enhancing the websites presence on the internet. MHN, compared to www.nih.org which publicly displays the sites last revision, information contained on the site doesn’t display last revision although there is updating to the site by evidence of seminar announcements, online flyers, and press releases. In a study of 1,442 acute care nurses employed in one large hospital system with readily available library sources, 43% reported starting a search with Google.

Of that group 64% reported success in obtaining results using a general search engine such as Google. While 49% started a search using CINAHL or MEDLINE, a much smaller percentage reported successful searching (20% and 24% respectively) of these professional databases. (Miller, Graves, Jones, & Sievert, 2010, p. 3) Not having a subscription to CINAHL or MEDLINE, according to (Miller et al., 2010), should not hinder knowledgeable nurses in using public search engines for credible information as a tool to educate patients and families.

Application to nursing practice

Evaluating information found on the internet is important to properly educate patients as MHN provides educational material for men, boys, women and families. The professional nurse can utilize the site resources to aide families to cope with ailments that affect their male loved ones. Nurses can resource MHN to provide information to families to co-pay card programs to curb the high cost of health insurance.


MHN demonstrates credibility by the use of expert advising board and links to creditable organizations which have done studies to support their mission. The site is easy to find on public search engines, easy to read for the lay person while giving links to more detailed information for the healthcare professional.


Calabro A 2010 Endhave your presensce on the internet with an improved website.Calabro, A. (2010). Enhance your presence on the internet with an improved website. O&P Business News, 19(12), 18. 201409201149291993026019 Mens Health NetworkMen’s Health Network. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.menshealthnetwork.org 201409161816071882827044 Miller L C Graves R S Jones B B Sievert M C 2010 Beyond Google: Finding and evaluating web-based information for community-based nursing practice.Miller, L. C., Graves, R. S., Jones, B. B., & Sievert, M. C. (2010). Beyond Google: Finding and evaluating web-based information for community-based nursing practice. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 7(1), 1-16. doi:10.2202/1548-923X.1961 201409201214161550333619

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