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Wikipedia and Google Scholar

Wikipedia as a research tool

Wikipedia is a good source for obtaining a variety of free information; however, Wikipedia pages are not considered credible sources as they are open to be edited by anyone viewing them.  Some authors on Wikipedia provide citations for their documents, but there can still be factual information with no citations. In other words, there is unverified information that may be based on fact or personal opinion, and we cannot be sure which.

Wikipedia is helpful as a way to develop a general understanding of your topic and sometimes provides citations from credible sources. While the Wikipedia information itself is not suitable for university-level research, the citations can provide book, journal, or internet sources for you to look up. You can then look up the Wikipedia citations in the book or journal databases at the library. You can obtain a variety of free sources such as pictures, videos and websites from Wikipedia, but you must be careful of copyright restrictions on the use of the information and images you find online. Do not forget to provide the documentation for your information and images.


Wikipedia is not considered an academic (that is, peer-reviewed or reliable) source for research at the university level. Like any encyclopaedia, use it to gain general familiarity with your topic, develop key words for searches, and find citations of other, more reliable, sources.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides an opportunity to access more credible, but also free, information.
  • Google Scholar is a search engine that is used to search for journal articles.
  • Google Scholar may provide you with the complete article or only a preview of the article with an order system so you may purchase the article.
  • Before purchasing an article, check if this article is contained in the Library database.


As an Ontario Tech student, you have access to a vast number of journals through the Library that are normally very expensive to access privately.