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NURS 3318: Nurse as Therapeutic Communicator: Home

Evaluating Source Credibility & More!

This quick introduction to our lesson today will challenge you to make a judgement call on the credibility of a health-related resource. You'll have just five minutes at most to decide if the following source is credible:

While you take a look at the article ask yourself -

  • Is this source credible?
  • What reasons lead you to make this decision?
  • Would you recommend this resource to a patient?

Then stand by and get ready to share your thoughts on the experience!

We define credible as capable of being believed; believable or plausible. Factors that could impact credibility of a resource include the author, and the publication. Ask yourself, "how credible the resource is for the assigned task?" 

We define suitable as appropriate for a particular person, situation, etc; fitting. Factors that could impact suitability include the format and currency of the resource, and the relevancy of the resource to the patients' needs. Ask yourself, "how suitable the resource is for the assigned task?"

Student Learning Outcome

Yes, I can


Not Yet

I can evaluate a source’s credibility in the context of my information needs.

I can explain to the patient why the resource is not credible, and able to explain why their found resource is credible

I can explain to the patient why the resource is not credible, but cannot identify a credible resource

I cannot explain to the patient why the resource is not credible, and not able to find a credible resource

I can evaluate a source’s suitability in the context of their information needs.

I can explain to the patient why the resource is not suitable and able to explain why their found resource is suitable for their specific patient (access)  

I can explain to the patient why the resource is not suitable, but cannot identify a suitable resource

I cannot explain to the patient why the resource is not suitable, and cannot identify a suitable resource

Blome, M. J., Johnson, M. L., Jones, M. A., Moore, M. S., & Beck, M. F. (2021). Sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in prelicensure baccalaureate nursing students. The Journal of Nursing Education, 60(4), 196-202.

The Anatomy of an Article

  • Title: Tells you who and what the article is about.
  • Abstract: A Short summary of the article.
  • Introduction and Background: Situates the article by explaining the purpose of the article and the description.
  • Methods: Explains the process of the study, including all of the steps taken, so the research can be repeated. 
  • Results: What were the outcomes of the study, such as observations, calculations, and any figures or data.
  • Discussion: Explains the results and what the findings mean.
  • Conclusion: Typically a paragraph or two summing up the article.

Begin by reading:

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Discussion
  4. Conclusion
Diagram from the University of Richmond Libraries


Know the distinctions between clinical health information vs. consumer health information!

Clinical health information is:

  • Information written for and produced by medical professionals
  • Contains technical language and assumes a high level of training, familiarity, and comes from a practitioner's perspective.

Consumer health information is:

  • Information designed to be educational, user-friendly, and understandable for people who are not medical professionals
  • Can include resources about prevention, wellness, diseases and conditions, treatment, healthcare options, and more


Reference: Arnott-Smith, C..and Alla K., (2015).  Meeting health information needs outside of healthcare : Opportunities and challenges. Elsevier Science.

Lateral reading is using other websites and sources to verify claims and content on websites you are evaluating. It is a strategy used by professional fact-checkers. It's as simple as opening up a few more windows on your browser and searching other sites for claims, persons, things, and events to verify content as  your read the source page.

It's different than vertical reading, which is when you stay on a website and follow the links or analyze the content on your source page without verifying with outside sources. 

Practice Groupwork Directions

You will be divided up into several groups and be given a general scenario for the practice exercise.

Scenario: A patient has a health question based on a resource they found on the web or social media. Your group's task is to 

  1. After examining the resource your patient gave you, offer the patient one more resource that you consider to be more appropriate or suitable than the original resource
  2. Explain to the patient why the resource your group chose is more appropriate or suitable than the original resource
  3. Choose a group spokesperson

You have 10-15 minutes to find an alternate source! The group spokesperson will report out the original source, the alternate source, and the rationale.

Ask Us!

  • Call: 361-825-2340
  • Text: 361-726-4986
  • Email us
  • Visit the Circulation Desk in Bell Library

Access Outside of Academic Libraries

Reliable, credible information can be found even if you or your patients do not have access to library databases. Here's a list of suggested resources to refer your patients to when they need more information

  • Your Local Public Library
    Public libraries have resources geared for their local communities.
  • Health Organizations
    Health organizations often have credible consumer health resources. An example would be a site like the American Cancer Society.
  • US Government Agencies
    US government health agencies maintain excellent resources for consumers and clinicians. An example site is PubMed.
  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar contains more non-English and geographically diverse content along with some full-text scholarly journal articles.

Databases - Clinical and Consumer Health Information Resources

Take a look at the selected clinical and consumer databases listed below. Or explore the entire Nursing and Health Sciences database list from the library's website.

Note: As a TAMUCC student you have access to library databases for a full year (365 days) after you graduate or leave TAMUCC.

Your Team! College of Education and Human Development and College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Left to Right: Trisha Hernandez, Emily Murphy, Lorin Flores, Aida Almanza-Ferro.

We are the librarians for College of Education and Human Development, and the College of Nursing. We look forward to working with you! To contact us or to make an appointment:

Submit your request and we'll get right back to you!

Or, you can reach out directly. For our email addresses and phone numbers, see the list below:

Aida Almanza-Ferro | | 361-825-2356
Lorin Flores | | 361-825-2609
Trisha Hernandez | |361-825-2687

Librarians are available M-F, 8-5.