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Is It Okay To Cite Wikipedia

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Most people get annoyed about it. Because of the publics ability to edit pages which are obviously accesible by pretty much everyone, it makes it a little unreliable as a place to cite. It's good for pretty much everything else, although if you know other sources, use them. For me, alot of the time when I had to source and cite I use the references on the pages at the bottom, sometimes you get a few terrible sites but there are a few intellectuals who reference good websites. I think if people were not morons and there was no such thing as an internet troll, it's reliable. 99% of the time, you can source it and the information is fact. But that 1% always seems to catch up. What people should allow is the use of wikipedia and if what you source is the wrong information, then you didn't study properly and get marked down for that.


Use this, it's pretty handy.



Anyone can make a website.


You'd be amazed how many professors will accept a reference from the smallest website from the depths of the internet but will not accept a wikipedia article that is cited.

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No it is not in my opinion and the opinions of every teacher I've ever had, I honestly never even considered citing wikipedia and never have my entire life


Only use Wikipedia for well established history, science, and math in my opinion... you might get by citing for those


Wikipedia is really good for most scientific topics and levels of taxonomy/organisms/fossils, Maybe cite for that...


I would Not trust wikipedia for somewhat regional history or not well known history in general, many times I have gotten test questions in AP european history wrong because I used a wikipedia article with the wrong date/ruler/etc...


Why does this forum try to make me double post.



Well for your teachers marking down papers, my teachers will often not allow me to use encyclopedia sources, I dont think its simply Wikipedia's credibilty they are basing their judgements on. I think its simply that encyclopedias and wikipedia are supposed to be starting points not information to base your paper/stuff on, most of my teachers tell me that wikipedia is a great way to find good sources and information that I can research outside of wikipedia and I think this is true

Edited by Daaryl

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It's good for finding sources (i.e actual books/published materials) that are indexed on there, but actually quoting off Wiki is just quoting paraphrasing from a random Wikipedia editor a lot of the time. Use it to find the sources then use the actual sources, and make sure you check them out or at least reference them.

This, don't forget that when using internet sources it's up to you to double check the sources.


Google the subject or look for other articles dealing with the same thing and if you can conclude that the information is pretty much the same all over then it's alright to use it. Check the name and the domain of the website. Check the date the information was published. Depending on the type of subject: what's true in 2005 is sometimes not true in 2011 anymore.


No in all cases. It's a wondrous tertiary source of information, and academic citations must refer to either primary (direct testimonies) or secondary (reportage of testimonies) sources.


It's not because it's Wikipedia. Encarta, bless its departed soul, would be subject to the same exact criteria. Same with paper encyclopaedias.

Wait, Encarta is no longer around? FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU-



it seems like teachers still need to teach you bunch a lot about using credible sources...


I'm surprised how much credibility you give online uncredited sources like wikipedia or other random websites

that really is not good, wikipedia ain't an encyclopedia it's like an (online) newspaper

do you believe everything that's written in there hmm :(

As I said, it's up to you to research the credibility of your internet source.

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I don't think you deserve a good grade if you cite Wikipedia. Writing papers isn't about just finding evidence to support your thesis, it's about interpreting the evidence you find too. There are several databases that you can find with the help of your college library.


I believe in Wikipedia as a source for information too. I'm sure you can get away with it in high school too if you cite some of Wikipedia's external citations.

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It's a good idea to get into the habit of citing things correctly and using good, credible sources.

Wikipedia is not one of them because it is an encyclopedia, also it can be openly edited by anyone and it is not peer reviewed (i.e subject to academic standards).


Wikipedia can be used to do some basic background reading into your research topic but I think most universities, (that I know of) would not accept the citation. Try searching library databases, using Google Scholar. Often if you find one good published journal article, taking a look at the reference list can give you some other helpful sources.

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