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Primary and Secondary Sources: Wikipedia as a Tertiary Source

Instead of Wikipedia - Go to the Source

Wikipedia is not considered an appropriate source for college-level assignments.

In fact, you should avoid citing any tertiary sources in your research. Instead, look at the References and Bibliography sections in Wikipedia entries and consider using those sources instead.

Be aware: just because something is cited in a Wikipedia article does not mean it is "scholarly" or appropriate for your assignment. When in doubt, ask a librarian or your professor.

Finding Sources Listed in Wikipedia

Well-formed Wikipedia articles have a list of useful and often scholarly sources listed at the end of each page under "References", "Bibliography", or "Further Reading." In many cases, there is a hyperlink to the actual item. In some cases, however, you may need to search for the item yourself.

For books: Search the library by the book's title.

For articles: Try to search the article's title in OCC Discovery

For anything else, a simple Google search may work. If you have trouble finding it, ask a librarian. 

Note on Wikipedia

Wikipedia does not make any claims to the validity of its information.

This does not mean that you can't find valuable or accurate information in Wikipedia, but you should be aware that there is no formal peer review process in place for Wikipedia entries. Entries written by experts or vetted by an informal review process may later be edited inaccurately before you view them. Additionally, most medical and legal entries are not written by professionals and may contain inaccurate information. Use Wikipedia at your own risk and do not rely on it without checking independent sources.

**Wikipedia is not considered an appropriate source for college-level assignments.**

 


Information use with permission and adapted from Whittier College's Wikipedia research guide

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