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Using Wikipedia as a source

Everyone, including us, told you not to use Wikipedia as your quoted source. There are several reasons for this – since it is created by many people, it’s rendered unscientific; since it’s already a summarized and paraphrased text, it’s difficult to make it any more concise; also, some contributors to Wikipedia deliberately include facts that are false, inaccurate or not objective enough and it takes time for the editors to find and correct them. However, all of the above doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read Wikipedia articles at all. They are useful in several different ways.

Brushing up the things you know

If you never knew much about an issue or forgot about it, Wiki is a good way to quickly learn or remind yourself about something. Keeping in mind that the information you read there can be not always comprehensive and objective, you can still get a general idea about a country, a personality, a historical event, a term, and a million other things through Wikipedia. And once you do, it helps you identify further keywords for your research. It is also a good way to identify if you need any help with essay writing – if the Wikipedia article seems too difficult to comprehend, you might find working with the other sources even more overwhelming and be in need of essay help.

Wikipedia sources

You can’t use the Wiki as a source itself, but you can surely use sources from its reference list. There is nothing wrong with employing Wikipedia as your bibliography. Again, this bibliography sometimes will not be comprehensive, but it is something to start with. And, as it always happens when you are looking for literature on the issue, the articles and books you find will eventually lead you to more books and articles. Ironically, Wiki can also teach you how to work with sources - in particular, how to paraphrase and summarize. Along with the poorly written articles, it does have some nice and proper ones.

To sum up, you shouldn’t, by all means, stop looking for more information after you’ve read a Wiki. However, there's also a reason why Wikipedia often comes up first in the search engines when you are doing your research. It is there, so why don't you use it. Nothing is bad if it helps with essay writing, as long as you keep being critical to what you read.


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