Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024     Views: 7

Wikipedia will likely be one of the top results in a Google search of your topic. A well-developed Wikipedia article will provide a “road-map” of your subject and help you to focus on related and narrower sub-topics.

  • Read the introductory paragraphs for definitions, important dates and related topics.
  • Jump to the external references and further reading near the end of the article. No Wikipedia article can be published unless it is backed with a list of credible sources. See Wikipedia’s own policy on Verifiability and its discussion of what can be considered a reliable source.

We suggest using Wikipedia only as a starting point for your research, particularly if you are new to a topic. Unlike more traditional sources of information, content on Wikipedia is continually changing and the expertise of its authors cannot be easily verified. Your instructors may caution you against using it in your research, and will probably discourage you from citing it.

What you can do with a Wikipedia article is look at the external links, the supporting references, and the suggestions for further reading. Try searching for books and articles in the library's Summon search.


Looking for more scholarly sources of background information?


The library has numerous Reference books, some of which are general, and some that are subject specific. These include:

  • encyclopedias
  • handbooks 
  • standards
  • dictionaries

In your Summon search results, use the Content Type filter on the left hand side of your results list to locate Reference sources.

Using the Content Type filter in Summon to find Reference books













The video from the Digital Inquiry Group below provides a good summary of the ways in which you can use Wikipedia in your search.


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