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Ask A Librarian

Wikipedia for Everyone

Students, instructors, researchers, editors, translators, curious learners, everyone!

Tips when using Wikipedia for college/academic research

Use Wikipedia to

  • do background reading 
  • discover and explore related concepts
  • identify terms for keywords for use in searches in
  • reviewing the references used for the article to locate secondary and primary sources 
    • if the link doesn't go to the source, the library can help
    • try to trace the statement of interest back as far as you can, to the original source

Library databasesGoogle Scholar and alternatives for exploring academic sources

Using Wikipedia References

  • Wikipedia and many encyclopedias can be useful for background reading
    • Encyclopedias are tertiary sources (not routinely used as cited sources in academic research)
  • Locate content of interest in Wikipedia and follow links in the References section to find primary and secondary sources

  • When you locate a book or article in an encyclopedia article that you can't find online, use the library to get a copy.
  • If we don't already own the item, we will get it for you from another library free of charge.