Can you cite Wikipedia in a college paper?

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  1. Bedbugabscond profile image97
    Bedbugabscondposted 6 years ago

    Can you cite Wikipedia in a college paper?

    My professor told us to cite trusted sources only. Do you think it is a bad idea to cite Wikipedia in a college paper?

  2. wayseeker profile image92
    wayseekerposted 6 years ago

    I would not recommend it.  Wikipedia is well known for being a great place to start your research, but not a good place to end it.  Because it's so open to editing, the information is not entirely reliable.  If possible, go directly to the sources that the page itself offers, or just google the info you've found and see if you can't find it somewhere else that's a more reliable source.

  3. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 6 years ago

    You could, but I would not recommend it. I agree with wayseeker. You can stat with Wilkipedia, see what sources are cited and then check those sources and use those sources to support your paper.

    Besides the pososible inaccuracies of Wilkipedia, a lot of people are using it, and professors are going to soon, if they have not already, catch on to where certain quotes are coming from and you could find yourself fighting a plagiarism charge with your professor.

    Do your own research--I wrote nine or 10 term papers in college. The research skills I developed served me well in both my newspaper and public relations careers.

  4. nochance profile image92
    nochanceposted 6 years ago

    Never ever cite Wikipedia. Go to the links at the bottom of the page and get your information directly from them. Though even these can be questionable.

    Depending on the paper you're looking for scholarly sources, things published in literary journals. Try searching google scholar or using your school's library resources (often they will have online access to scholarly journals, ask your professor).

    1. nochance profile image92
      nochanceposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I feel that it is unprofessional to cite wikipedia. If you can't be bothered to do actual research then you have a problem.

  5. internpete profile image89
    internpeteposted 6 years ago

    I would say no. However, Wikipedia is a great place to start your research if you don't know much about the topic. Plus I would suggest looking at the links at the bottom of the Wikipedia page for more information.

    Also consider asking your professors. Some classes I had in college where we had simple papers to do it was OK to use Wikipedia, but these were not research papers, just 1-2 pagers.

  6. nmdonders profile image84
    nmdondersposted 6 years ago

    Yes, you can. I have done it and I always received great marks.  You can cite any website you want but obviously some sites are far better sources than others.  Because Wikipedia is a peer reviewed site and continuously monitored and edited, it is a very good website source. 

    To cite, it would look similar to this, depending on which citation method you are using (this is APA):

    Wikipedia. (2012). Some Great Article on Wikipedia. Retrieved from

    As others have said, try to find which sources are being used for the Wikipedia page and visit those.  That way you can cite the original source and it looks much better.  Remember that the most recent sources are always best.

    For extra info on APA and how to cite: … guid=intro

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image84
      Uninvited Writerposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Many schools specifically say you cannot use Wikipedia.

    2. nmdonders profile image84
      nmdondersposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Different schools do have different rules even when the majority are doing something different. I guess your best bet would be to ask an instructor.

  7. Rhonda_M profile image82
    Rhonda_Mposted 6 years ago

    Here's the deal: Wikipedia, according to an article in New Yorker magazine, has the same error rate as the encyclopedia Britannica (which is not perfect). As an instructor I tell my students not to use Wikipedia as a source in any paper because it tells me they are lazy researchers. I tell them to look at some of the source articles for the Wikipedia entry and evaluate whether these are credible.

    Now, at one point when I was taking a grad course, I had a prof who said it was OK to yes Wikipedia for basic descriptive surface information (descriptive information, geography information, stats from government sources). I was quite surprised. I have even seen Wikipedia referenced in academic papers (yes.. really) with this type of information. But at least those papers had a whole lot of other research to balance those citations.

    In general, I tell students not to use Wikipedia (or other user created sites)  in their work, but maybe to give it a glance as a starting spot to get some general info on a topic. There's nothing worse than seeing a paper where all three sources used are Wikipedia articles.

  8. annerivendell profile image91
    annerivendellposted 6 years ago

    You can if you want to get an F grade and maybe even be penalised for plaguerism.
    It can be a good place to start though if you don't know anything about the subject, but peer reviewed journals and books are best for citations.  Anybody can post on Wikipedia, so you could be reading "facts" on brain surgery from a 17 year old high school student, for example.

  9. Mritzert1 profile image79
    Mritzert1posted 6 years ago

    As many have already said, it is a bad idea to cite from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a scholarly source and as such, should not be cited for any type of college paper. There are so many excellent sources out there, especially through your college, that you can and should be using to ensure your paper is supported by quality research.

  10. cityalice profile image60
    cityaliceposted 6 years ago

    Wikipedia is based on other sources..  Perhaps you could just go to wikipedia to find sources and site those. Probably better.


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