Can Internet sources provide reliable information about alternative medicine?  

Expert Answers
cathibee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When it comes to Internet research, there are a number of potential pitfalls, regardless of the subject a researcher investigates. While the risk is greatest for academic research, there is also some risk involved when looking for information about health topics as well. A person who finds unreliable advice, for example, might jeopardize his or her health or even life when following such advice.  On the other hand, many sites offer very good and reliable information for those seeking to improve their health and well-being. 

In terms of alternative medicine information, the situation is no different from other topics. Some information is reliable, while other sources are not. There are techniques one can use to find the most reliable information on the Internet. 

The first and simplest is to investigate multiple sources about a certain aspect of alternative medicine. If the information provided on a site supports information from other sources, this is probably a reliable Website. 

Second, one could also look at the support the author provides for his or her information. A list of resources or links will indicate the quality of the information provided. When no sources are offered, it is likely that the site is not very reliable.

A third indicator of reliability is language. A poorly written, unclear, or frequently misspelled piece of information will tend to be less reliable than one that is grammatically polished and clearly organized. 

Therefore, the simple answer is "yes and no". Some Internet sources on alternative medicine are reliable, while others are not. It is best to make an investigation of several sources and check the general quality of the page before taking any advice or products that are suggested. 

eli468 | Student

Internet resources can be reliable when it comes to getting information about alternative medicine.

You need to stay away from common resources, however, such as yahoo answers and very common webpages. The best way to research and get proper information is too find scholarly articles and lab reports. Also, it is best to cross reference. One lab may say a certain alternative medicine treats this, only to find that another lab report finds that the same treatment can also cause something else wrong. You need to make sure to research all sides of the spectrum, or as much as possible when it comes to alternative medicine. 

When searching type in the type of alternative medicine treatment with 'scholarly articles' next to it and it will weed out most of the webpages that just anyone can put up. 

Another good tip is if you're looking for reliable information, only use websites that end in .org or .edu (This changes in different places in the world so whatever equivalencies those would be for which location you are at.)