Applying the CRAAP Test (Currency-Relevancy-Authority-Accuracy-Purpose) to reading a website takes a few seconds but saves you the trouble of spending too much time on an unreliable website.
Website: EPA.Gov -U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1. Currency: Recent reports have all been written within the past year, it's current!
2. Relevancy: The website is on my research topic!
3. Authority: EPA is the U.S. government agency responsible for researching environmental issues (epa.gov).
4. Accuracy: Government information is reviewed for accuracy prior to publication. It is often used by academic and business work/research and reproduced in other publications/websites.
5. Purpose: To inform and educate.
Results: REAL information!
1. Currency: No date.
2. Relevancy: Yes, it relates to my research topic.
3. Authority: Nothing is known of the author. The website is a .com, which means it’s a commercial website with advertisements to sell you things.
4. Accuracy: No references made for where information came from.
5. Purpose: The agenda of the information is to inform for the purpose of change, i.e. there is a motive behind the information.
Results: Junk! Toss it out!