Okay, there’s a bias against Wikipedia found amongst academics (especially Composition II instructors, who assign research papers) because of the lack of initial quality control when random folks post entries into the site. Since it’s a wiki, Wikipedia entries have as much academic rigor as, say, a person posting on a message board. In other words, it depends on who’s posting.
But like message boards, the entries can be moderated, i.e., monitored and checked for having good info or not — but that takes time, and until then, the entry on, say Sponge Bob SquarePants by a thirteen year old kid sits side-by-side to the entry on Jean Jacques Rousseau by a political Pee-Aitch-Dee.
That’s one reason not to use Wikipedia in a paper. Another is stitching together a paper with *five* Wikipedia articles, cut-and-pasted from beginning to end, thus creating a six paper thing when the assignment was for only two pages.
Yup. I got one of those. In my grading pile. And, yup, I found all five articles, including printing out the relevant passages. It’s a pity — the student was averaging a “B+” in my class. Even though I won’t fail him right out of the class — I’m a softie — he’ll fail this assignment, and will probably get a “C” for his troubles.
*Not* a good use of Wikipedia, indeed.