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EVST 100: (McIntyre) Introduction to Environmental Studies: Internet Sites

Research tips, resources, and assistance for completing the library research components of your EVST 100 papers/assignments.

Good site? Bad site?

Evaluating Information—Applying the CRAAP Test

Printable CRAAP Test

When you search for information you’re going to find lots of it…but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions you can ask in order to determine if the information you have is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list of questions is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So, what are you waiting for? Is your web site credible and useful, or is it a bunch of…?! 
Evaluation Criteria

Currency: Currency is important because information can quickly become obsolete. Supporting your thesis statement with facts that have been superseded by new research or recent events weakens your argument. Of course, not all assignments require the most current information; older materials can provide an historical or comprehensive understanding of your topic. 

How do you know if the timeliness of your information is appropriate?

  • When was the information published or last updated?
  • Have newer articles been published on your topic?
  • Are links or references to other sources up to date?
  • Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology or popular culture?

Relevance: Relevance is important because you are expected to support your ideas with pertinent information. A source detailing Einstein's marriage and family life would not be germane to his theories in physics.

How do you know if your source is relevant?

  • Does the information answer your research question?
  • Does the information meet the stated requirements of the assignment?
  • Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?
  • Does the source add something new to your knowledge of your topic?

AuthorityAuthority is important in judging the credibility of the author's assertions. In a trial regarding DNA evidence, a jury gives far more authority to what a genetics specialist has to say compared to someone off the street.

How do you know if an author is an authority on your topic?

  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or prominent organization?
  • Can you find information about the author from reference books or the Internet?
  • Do other books or articles cite the author?

AccuracyAccuracy is important because errors and untruths distort a line of reasoning. When you present inaccurate information, you undermine your own credibility.

How do you know if your source is accurate?

  • Are there statements you know to be false?
  • Are there errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar?
  • Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?
  • What citations or references support the author’s claims?
  • What do other people have to say about the topic?

PurposePurpose is important because books, articles, and Web pages exist to educate, entertain, or sell a product or point of view. Some sources may be frivolous or commercial in nature, providing inadequate, false, or biased information. Other sources are more ambiguous concerning their partiality. Varied points of view can be valid, as long as they are based upon good reasoning and careful use of evidence.

How do you determine the purpose of your source?

  • Why did the author or publisher make this information available?
  • Is there an obvious bias or prejudice?
  • Are alternative points of view presented?
  • Does the author omit important facts or data that might disprove a claim?
  • Does the author use strong or emotional language?


Websites of Possible Interest


Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
United States Department of Agriculture library specializing in sustainable, organic, low-input, biodynamic, and regenerative methods of agriculture.

American Farmland Trust
Permanently protects American farmland by uniting farmers, environmentalists, and policymakers.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National alliance of farm, rural development, and conservation groups that organized in 1988 to affect federal agriculture policy. NSAC member groups advance common positions to support small and mid-size family farms, protect natural resources, promote healthy rural communities, and provide nutritious and healthy food to consumers.

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (also known as ATTRA)
Updated news regarding sustainable agriculture and organic farming, events, and funding opportunities. Features in-depth publications on production practices, alternative crop and livestock enterprises, innovative marketing, organic certification, and highlights of local, regional, and federal activities.

Rodale Institute
Focuses on soil health, food quality, regenerative agriculture education, composting and regional, national and international community development.

Sustainable Food Laboratory
Collaboration of businesses, governments, farm groups and non-governmental organizations to make food systems more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable.

Alliance for Sustainability
Non profit organization supporting sustainability projects on the local, national and international levels. Brings together businesses, government agencies, academic institutions, religious organizations, nonprofits, community groups, and individuals.

Rocky Mountain Institute
Entrepreneurial non profit organization fostering the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, prosperous, and life-sustaining. They collaborate with business, civil society, and governments to design integrative solutions that create true wealth.

Donella Meadows Institute
Think tank which conducts stakeholder-based systems analysis and change projects through consulting, research, workshops, and facilitated systems projects, services, publications, and other resources.

Trust for Public Land
National, non profit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.

Union of Concerned Scientists
Independent non profit alliance of more than 500,000 concerned citizens and scientists. Their mission is to augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world.



Build it Solar  Plans, tools and information  to do  renewable energy and conservation projects. Hundreds of projects -- from changing a light bulb to building a solar home. Design information and tools  for building renewable energy projects. An Experimental section for backyard inventors. Nothing For Sale here -- just free ideas, plans, and information.

Ecological Building Network
Non profit, international association of builders, engineers, architects, academics, and developers committed to promoting intelligent building methods and materials for a sustainable future. Includes access to articles, papers, conference proceedings, and related events.

International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment

Links to the Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative, the Sustainable Building Information System, and a tool for assessing and reducing energy-related impact of buildings on interior, local and global environments.

U.S. Green Building Council

Information on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program.


Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (B.A.L.L.E.)
Network which supports the growth and development of community-based business, encourages local purchasing by consumers and businesses, creates opportunities for business leaders to network and share best practices, and advocates public policies that strengthen independent local businesses and farms, promote economic equity, and protect the environment.

Green America
Non profit organization focused on economic strategies that solve social and environmental problems. Mobilize and educate people as consumers, investors, workers, and business leaders.

New Economy Coalition
Educational non-profit organization demonstrating that social and environmental sustainability can be achieved by applying the values of human-scale communities and respect for the natural environment to economic issues. Links to events, local currencies, and land trusts.

Holistic Management International
Non profit seeking to restore deteriorating landscapes and the lives of the people dependent on them using practical, low-cost solutions.

New Economics Foundation

Independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. Aims to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues.

Global Ecovillage Network
Global confederation of people and communities who meet and share their ideas, exchange technologies, develop cultural and educational exchanges, directories and newsletters, and are dedicated to restoring the land and living "sustainable plus" lives by putting more back into the environment than is taken out.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Conducts in-depth technical and policy assessments, advises policymakers and program managers, works with businesses, public interest groups, and other organizations, organizes conferences and workshops, publishing books, conference proceedings, and reports, and educates consumers and businesses.

California Renewable Energy Overview and Programs
Summary of California programs designed to promote the development and use of renewable energy resources.

Consumer Reports: Greener Choices  Information on the environmental impact of various consumer products and tips on improving your own usage. Also includes information on recycling,labeling, and rebates for efficient products. Currently features a comparison of alternative fuels, and ways to save money on gas.

U.S. Energy Information Administration
Official energy statistics from the U.S. government.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory  NREL advances the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies and provides the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems.

Environmental Law Institute
Provides information services, advice, publications, training courses, seminars, research programs and policy recommendations to engage and empower environmental leaders the world over. ELI’s audience is leading environmental professionals in government, industry, public interest groups and academia.

FedCenter: Sustainability
Current guidance, examples, and information resources to aid Federal facilities in developing and maintaining sustainable facilities and helping to develop and promote sustainable practices within their environmental programs or activities. Includes extensive links to related organizations, tools, and policies.


Lincoln Institute of Land Policy  The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is the leading resource for key issues concerning the use, regulation, and taxation of land

Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme
UNESCO program fostering and promoting social science research. Special attention is given to capacity building and the establishment of a clearing house of knowledge in the field of social science.


Treesearch is an online system for locating and delivering public domain publications by Research and Development scientists in the US Forest Service. Publications in the collection include research monographs published by the agency as well as papers written by our scientists but published by other organizations in their journals, conference proceedings, or books. Research results behind these publications have been peer reviewed to ensure the best quality science.  Treesearch was unavailable as of 1/28/2019 due to the partial US government shutdown.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Sustainability
Greener Living; Sustainability Resources; Sustainable Manufacturing; Sustainable Marketplace: Greener Products and Services

Human Ecology
ETC Group
Dedicated to the conservation and sustainable advancement of cultural and ecological diversity and human rights. Supports socially responsible developments of technologies useful to the poor and marginalized and it addresses international governance issues and corporate power.

Donella Meadows Institute
Think tank which conducts stakeholder-based systems analysis and change projects through consulting, research, workshops, and facilitated systems projects, services, publications, and other resources.

Center for Clean Air Policy
Independent non profit entity recognized as a world leader in air quality and climate policy since 1985. Seeks to promote and implement innovative solutions to major environmental and energy problems which balance both environmental and economic interests.

Heifer International
Building self reliant communities in developing countries by distributing resources fairly, improving access to education, and preserving the environment.

International Development Research Centre  Collaborates with researchers from the developing world to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies.

UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform  A forum for sustainable development within the United Nations system. Established by the UN General Assembly in 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit. Reviews progress on local, national, regional and international levels.

World Resources Institute
Environmental think tank providing objective information and practical proposals for policy and institutional change that will foster environmentally sound, socially equitable development.

Worldwatch Institute
Gateway for interdisciplinary research, global focus, and accessible writing on interactions among key environmental, social, and economic trends. Their work revolves around the transition to an environmentally sustainable and socially just society—and how to achieve it.