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Development and evaluation of SPAT: a web page assessment tool

Elizabeth M. LaRue (School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 13 June 2008




The purpose of this research is to measure the validity and the adoption of a new web page assessment tool called SPAT (Site, Publisher, Audience, Timeliness).


A convenience sample of 37 Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) participated in an evaluation of the web page assessment tool SPAT. Four web pages with diabetes content were selected for a pre‐ and post‐test evaluation. A follow‐up questionnaire measured adoption of the SPAT tool.


There was a significant difference when using the mnemonic SPAT to evaluate the site, publisher and timeliness of a web page. Using SPAT to evaluate the audience of a web page also showed an improvement. While there was an increase in reviewing the text of a web page for biases after the SPAT intervention, it was not significant. The CDEs easily utilized SPAT with the diabetes content web pages and their successful manipulation of the SPAT tool demonstrated face validity. After learning of SPAT, responses to the follow‐up questionnaire revealed adoption of the tool by CDEs.

Practical implications

Use of SPAT may enable health care providers to systematically evaluate health‐related web page content.


SPAT is a novel tool that reinforces a user to practice basic literacy concepts. The value of SPAT is that it is a people centered tool that may easily be used by anyone to evaluate web pages.



LaRue, E.M. (2008), "Development and evaluation of SPAT: a web page assessment tool", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 274-286.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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