Or the angels will weep for you....
If you want to "play it safe," you should check with your instructor or a librarian about any website you plan to use for your presentation. There is much information out there on the WWW that is not reputable, accurate and trustworthy to use for this research project. A few that seem useful are listed below:
.edu (institutions of higher education) and .gov (government-sponsored websites) tend to be the most reliable domains; .com and .net sites tend to be least reliable.
However, domains do not tell the whole story. Each site needs to be evaluated on its own merits. Use the evaluation-training sites listed in the box "Evaluating Websites" to develop expertise in deciding which sites are trustworthy and which are dubious.
Cultivate an attitude of skepticism when it comes to web-based content. If you have any doubt whatsoever about the reliability of any given website, clear it with your instructor or check with a librarian before you use it in your paper.
Here is what Wikipedia itself has to say about using Wikipedia for academic research:
".... citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible or authoritative source. This is especially true considering anyone can edit the information given at any time.
Follow two simple rules:
1) Do your research properly. Remember that any encyclopedia is a starting point for research, not an ending point.
2) Use your judgment. Remember that all sources have to be evaluated."
For more on what Wikipedia says about Wikipedia and academic research, see: Wikipedia:Academic use
Just goes to show that US students are not the only ones who sometimes want to Google their way through academic research! Also see "Just Google It: How Search Engines Stunt College Students' Research Skills."
Courtesy of Sandi Monaghan, Library Officer, Communications and Online Learning Library on behalf of La Trobe University Library