Answered By: Wendy Hardenberg
Last Updated: Dec 15, 2014     Views: 14

Absolutely not! For some things, especially quick answers in your personal life, it's invaluable. But when it comes to academic research for college classes, you have to be careful. Just remember the following:

1) All encyclopedias are preliminary sources. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It can be a great place to start your research—for background on a topic, for different keywords to search, for an idea of where to get more information—but it should never be where your research ends.

2) You may not be able to cite Wikipedia, but you can cite Wikipedia's sources. Have you ever noticed that Wikipedia entries have reference lists at the end? You can use that information! When using the references on Wikipedia for research purposes, first you have to find that resource. Sometimes that's easy—it's a website, and you click on the link. If it's a book or article that isn't freely available, you might have to do some more digging. Librarians are happy to help you with that search!

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