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Use Wikipedia Effectively for Research

Started in 2001, Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia with entries that can be created, added, and edited by anyone. Wikipedia is great as a general encyclopedia, but at the college level, your professors are looking for more than that. When it comes to academic research, there are some great ways Wikipedia can help you, but using a Wikipedia entry as a source can compromise the quality expected in an academic assignment.

Always be sure to read your assignment carefully and identify the types of sources your instructor has asked you to use. Does the assignment call for a specific type of resource, such as a article in a scholarly journal? Would an online encyclopedia be appropriate for the assignment? Be sure to ask your instructor if you are unsure what sources to consult.

And if you are ever in doubt about the reliability and credibility of a resource or need assistance finding a proper resource, do not hesitate to Ask a Librarian!

How Wikipedia Can Help You

Some advantages of Wikipedia include:

Why Wikipedia May Not Be The Best Source

While Wikipedia has its uses, there are reasons your instructors don't want you to cite Wikipedia in your assignment. These include:

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