We all know Wikipedia is not the most reliable source of information. Its content is constantly altered, hopefully for the better, by people claiming to have some expertise on the subject.
When writing papers, students are not allowed to cite Wikipedia. They are to use reliable websites, preferably those related to universities, scientific journals, peer-reviewed papers, or any site that may have authority on the subject.
Wikipedia remains one of my favorite tools, though. I may not trust the validity of its information, but I believe it’s a good place for me to start when I have no clue about something. It provides, at the very least, enough information to get familiar with and learn about an unknown person, event, or anything, really.
What I like most about Wikipedia is the external links and resources it provides at the end of each article. They always take me to the right place. I especially find the bibliography to be a wonderful tool.
We can search for the books listed in Wikipedia and get a lot of information. With all the digitized books available in online libraries nowadays, we can download and access any book in a matter of minutes.
For each book, we can see the source of the information, the author. With a quick search of the author’s name on Google, we can verify the author’s experience on the subject and decide how much weight we want to place on the book or article we find.
We really have no shortage of references on any subject because the books we find online, nearly all of which are nonfiction, also provide bibliographies, and those are often comprehensive.
All we have to do is look for those books in online libraries, access the digitized book in our favorite format, and get all the information we need for any kind of research. I use Kindle and highlight everything related to what I need. Then I export all my highlights and notes and go from there.
Wikipedia itself may not be the most reliable website for information, but it’s a valuable tool for writers, who often need to do research for their books.