Is the information current and up-to-date?
Things to check for: Copyright date, Last updated, Date published (if an article is found online)… This is important because depending on your issue things could change pretty rapidly and you want to stay current.
Is the information relevant to your needs?
Think of the primary audience – is it aimed at your academic level or does it seem to focus on students who are either considerably younger or considerably more advanced?
Is the information reliable and in line with other sources you’ve viewed?
Is the material portrayed in a way that seems informative and free from bias?
Red flags include: lack of references/bibliography (a site should be clear of where they did research and should encourage you to check out other sources); dead links; misspellings and factual errors.
Who is the author or group behind the website? What are their credentials?
On a website there should always be a way to CONTACT someone. Ideally there will be a brief biographical blurb of the author and/or contributors. Look for an “About Us” section – this will explain the mission behind putting information out there and should provide you with background about the individual/group. Also, think of what the domain ending reveals about the source (.edu? .gov? .org?)
What is the intention behind putting the information out there?
Is the site/article meant to be informative or is it clearly biased and trying to convince you to think a certain way about an issue?
Is the goal to educate you or persuade you?