I often remind my students before research writing projects of what counts as credible source and what not. There’s more debate to be had on this issue these days since students are more dependent on the world wide web for their research than ever before. It’s often difficult to delineate which websites can be more trustworthy than other and more so, which can be quoted in a research paper in a composition class. So what about Wikipedia? Many students get that Wikipedia is not a source to cite in academic papers unless there’s a point to be made about the encyclopedia itself. But very few students though remember and apply to use Wikipedia as a tool for deepening their research. Maybe this quote from Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, will help to emphasize that idea. This is from an interview she gave to The Guardian:
If you are going to do original research, especially if you are going to write a paper or do a piece for publication, it should go into more detail, talk to primary and secondary sources and the like. Wikipedia fills a different role [that of being a jumping-off point].