At some point we have all turned to Wikipedia, this great online encyclopedia to consult some information, no matter what level of studies we have, we should not lie about it. But is it a source for academic papers? For reasons of prestige and trust, we must say no.

This large, extremely up-to-date digital encyclopedia, which works collectively through the free, almost altruistic participation of people from all over the globe seeking to spread knowledge, has become an inexhaustible source of information. And at the risk of raising controversy, we must admit that Wikipedia is a good information project.


So why shouldn’t it be an academic source? Isn’t it easier to ask somebody who can someone write my paper? The first reason is that there is no system that guarantees the veracity of the information? Many people can contribute articles for the encyclopedia, but we cannot guarantee that their authors are specialists in the field. The publications are collaborative and this suggests that the volunteers help each other to give quality to the information, however almost anyone can intervene and edit.

The second reason, the project policies emphasize the consent of its collaborators to the detriment of critical evaluation. This means that as long as the volunteer writers agree on a topic, it can be uploaded to the encyclopedia, regardless of the veracity of the content. The support offered by the editorial process: revision, correction, and arbitration of academic articles are not fulfilled in Wikipedia.


Publications specialized in scientific research go through a rigorous selection and scrutiny process, known as “peer review” or arbitration by a panel of judges, who are in charge of verifying the relevance of the content. Thus, when the text reaches the reader’s hands, he can trust that what he reads is not an invention. With this we do not want to assure that what appears in the famous encyclopedia is a mere invention, but if there is a security and validity issue that is doubtful. For academic papers, it is very important to be sure of the information sources consulted.

Students turn to this online portal for its practicality and speed. It is much easier to process an abstract than to go directly to the source or face the understanding of more complex texts and with writing styles that require certain reading skills. However, this attitude does not help to develop university work, much less a thesis.


You can continue to consult Wikipedia, but we give you these brief tips to get it right when it comes to your academic papers.

  • Only for summary information: useful for the first approach to a topic, to know general data, that is, to get a panoramic idea about a matter.
  • Consult specific information: locations, years, names, the title of works, etc. Never for a theoretical framework.
  • Check the references: Some publications have a list of references that is very valuable to find direct sources of information. Sometimes the cited entries have an online version that you can download.
  • External links: almost no one takes them into account, they are located at the end of the text and take you to the main sources of information.

Choose wisely the documents you consult and properly enrich your work.