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Evaluating Websites: About Wikipedia

Learn how to determine whether or not a web site is reliable.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be a valuable resource when beginning your research, but should almost never be used as a source for a research paper.

On Wikipedia, any given entry is vulnerable to false information or even malicious hacks.

When using Wikipedia and other social media sites such as blogs, podcasts, and discussion forums, remember:

Consider the information found on Wikipedia and blogs as a surface-level introduction to your research topic which may or may not be accurate. To find out for sure, you will need to dig deeper.

As with other sites, compare the information provided with other, more reliable resources, and cite these other resources, not Wikipedia or a blog in your research.

Look for documentation of the information provided. Wikipedia articles often contain footnotes at the bottom of the article page, which can often lead to valuable print and electronic sources that may be more reliable than the entry itself.

Take advantage of the variety of opinions available on social media sites, but make sure to check out the varied references they cite.