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How to use Wikipedia in your research as well as how to contribute to it.

References in Wikipedia

Many Wikipedia articles include a list of references, and sometimes further reading (meaning longer sources on the topic that aren't necessarily directly cited in the article), which can be helpful for doing more research on a subject. This can usually be found at the end of the article.

Wikipedia's Disclaimers

Anatomy of a Wikipedia Article

Title: The subject of the article, like "Otis College of Art and Design" or "George Washington."

Summary/Opening: An overview that gives general information to describe and define the subject.

Contents: An outline of the information presented in the article. You can click on any of the sections to automatically navigate to that section. 

Sections: Divisions of the information in the article.

References: A list of sources that the editors and contributors consulted while writing the information presented in the article. 

External Links: Links related to the subject of the article.

Finding the Reference Used in Articles

Let's look at a couple of those references in detail.

If an article has a DOI link, like the Nature article above, you can click on it. If you are on campus that subscribes to that publication, you should be taken directly to the paper.

If there is no online link, or it's not something that Otis has online access to, or it's a book, like Introducing Einstein's Relativity above, you can look up the title of the book or the journal in the OPAC, the Otis online catalog. If Otis owns the item, you will see a link to it.

Should you use Wikipedia?

The answer to that question depends largely on context and whether Wikipedia is an appropriate resource for what you are doing.

If you are writing a scholarly research paper, you should be working with peer-reviewed, scholarly and technical sources -- not general encyclopedia articles, such as are found on Wikipedia. If you need information and don't know where to find it other than Wikipedia, check with a reference librarian: there are many specialty scholarly sources that they can point you to.

However, if you do use Wikipedia in your final work, you should cite it -- if you get information from a source and do not cite that source, regardless of what it is, that is plagiarism.

Bottom line: If your faculty tells you not to cite Wikipedia, don't!

Citing an article

If you need to cite a Wikipedia article, look on the left-hand side for a link to "cite this page":

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