Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wikipedia - A Legitimate Source for Research Papers?

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, has become increasingly popular over the last few years and students have asked about using it as a research paper source. Our Writer's Reference also has instructions for citing it in MLA format, but....

The Answer

While it's a great place to do general reading, it is not generally accepted as a specific source for a research paper.

It does have an impressive array of helpful free articles which can be used to understand topics - provided you check their accuracy.

Some studies have found it roughly equal to another encyclopedia in science knowledge, but even its founder discourages college students from using it as a direct source. Many of its entries are not reviewed for accuracy and can be changed by almost anyone at anytime - qualified or not.

Bottom line: Background reading yes (with fact checking). Source for research paper: N0