- Wikipedia can be a decent place to consult at the very start of your research process, particularly if you are completely unfamiliar with your assigned topic and it deals with recent happenings.
- Instructors often penalize students for citing Wikipedia for several reasons:
- Concerns about the quality of the information
- Concerns about the identity of authors and editors
- Because encyclopedias in general may not be acceptable sources
- Just because a Wikipedia article has a lot of references, it's not necessarily a good article. You need to evaluate the quality of the article and the references.
Remember - better safe than sorry!
- When in doubt, steer clear of Wikipedia.
- If you're lost and can't think of a place to consult instead, contact your friendly USA reference librarian and we can help!