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Wikipedia: To use or not to use.

According to Alexa, Similarweb, and other web traffic ranking sites Wikipedia usually ranks around number 7 globally:

Launched back in 2001 it billed itself as a open-source internet encyclopedia. Unlike other more well known encyclopedias like Britannica and World Book, anyone with an account can add and edit articles, and this can lead to information being inaccurate, and in many cases there could be numerous authors on any one article.


For research, especially on the college level, an encyclopedia should only be used for preliminary research only, gathering just the basic subject knowledge to get started. There are no references or bibliographies accompanying the articles. In the case of Wikipedia the authors are unknown. unlike Britannica which hires subject matter experts for their articles.

In doing research its strongly suggested to use multiple sources for the project. Finally there is bias in Wikipedia...87% of the authors are male and under 30.


But there are good reasons to use Wikipedia. On subject matter new to anyone doing research Wikipedia can give a good introduction and overview, just to get started. From here you can identify books, keywords, and other concepts to use.

Research is a creative process, preliminary research is an essential part of the early stages. Wikipedia is a good starting source, but never the sole source.



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