Answered By: Sara Marks
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2018     Views: 8


Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and without a doubt a valuable tertiary information source, but when you're writing a paper, you should use something suitable for academic purposes, such the academic journals found through our databases. It can work as a great starting point, but students should keep in mind that the information presented might not always be submitted by an expert (although many experts regularly submit and edit articles and they have to prove points with citations). Even though the Wikipedia community adheres to strict guidelines and content is updated frequently, there's still room for misinformation, errors, or bias. We do encourage you to browse the cited sources used for Wikipedia articles!


Most of the information you find online is free. On the other hand, your library pays for databases that contain a variety of copyrighted, licensed, and proprietary information with your tuition money. Most of the information you'll find on Google hasn't been evaluated. In contrast, you'll find a large amount of peer reviewed journals through your library with articles that have gone through the rigorous evaluation of discipline experts and publishers. You can still use Google, but you would have to carefully evaluate your results to avoid biased or erroneous information that could also be old.  

Learn how to evaluate sources on your College Writing II libguide!