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Research With Non-Scholarly Internet Resources: Wikipedia




If you find most of your information on Wikipedia, that’s okay! It’s okay to use Wikipedia. It’s just not okay to quote or cite Wikipedia.


Read the Wikipedia pages relevant to your topic as a primer and to expand your basic understanding. We do this, too! But remember, there’s very little oversight - no one’s being paid to check these pages to see if they’re accurate, which is why you’ve heard a million times that it isn’t acceptable for scholastic work. Though Wikipedia articles aren’t scholarly or peer-reviewed, we understand that they are sources of information.

Wikipedia's Guidelines for Research


1.  If anything seems wrong or unreliable, don’t believe it.

2.  If the Wikipedia page you're on doesn’t have citations (little blue hyperlink numbers next to key ideas) of if it has tiny blue writing that says “citation needed,” be extra cautious.

Here's How To Use It

You can’t quote Wikipedia, but you can quote legitimate articles you find through Wikipedia. Click the blue number next to a line, quote, or idea to go to its specific citation or reference, or scroll through the citations at the bottom of the page. Many of these citations are from legitimate sources.


1.  Be very careful in selecting what information to use (this is true in all research, but especially true here). If you find an article linked through Wikipedia, make sure to evaluate that article and its source. Often these articles were cherry picked to say what the writer wanted.


2.  Never reference Wikipedia directly. Always reference the article you found on Wikipedia.