How to Use Wikipedia for Research

Wikipedia is massive. It is the seventh most popular website worldwide and is consistently one of the top, if not the top, hit in a Google Search. Due to its vast amount of information and easily maneuverable user interface, it is usually the first resource that people use to learn about anything. This includes students.

However, because Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, it is not a reliable source for academic citation. Yet, students still begin their research with a search on Wikipedia.

Here are three ways that students can utilize Wikipedia as a trustworthy research resource:

Research – At the bottom of each Wikipedia article is a “Reference” section. This section provides links to sources which can often act as reputable references for a student’s paper.

Wikipedia Projects – Many Wikipedia articles are authored through a joint effort of experts in a certain field. These experts often collaborate in “Wikiprojects.” A student is able to join a Wikiproject and can find links to valuable articles and might be able to personally connect to subject experts.

Reference Desk – Like a library reference desk, this resource provides users with answers to questions and suggests other helpful sources.

Check out this fantastic infographic from eLearning Infographics to learn more about smart ways to use Wikipedia for academic research.

Using Wikipedia in an Academic Setting Infographic

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