School’s about to start again, so I’m sure many of you (like I would be) are itching around to go back. And once school begins, it is not uncommon that Wikipedia becomes your best friend. So let’s start this friendship early.

Although Wikipedia should not be cited as a source in any college paper by itself, Wikipedia does a great job leading you to the original sources –what you should cite.

Now because many of my college papers surrounded Emotional Intelligence, I will use its Wikipedia page to demonstrate. While reading the article, often times the claims are linked to the bottom of the page. These links are the most important.

Looking quickly at “Origin of the Term”, we can see several citations (the blue links). For now, we’ll just check out the last sentence of the first paragraph:

Many psychologists, such as Gardner, believe that traditional measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, fail to fully explain cognitive ability. (Smith 2002)

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Clicking the citation “(Smith 2002)” will bring you to the article’s references (or endnotes, located at the bottom of the page). This is the best part! Finding “(Smith 2002)” leads you to:

^ Smith, M. K. (2002) “Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences,” the encyclopedia of informal education, Downloaded from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm on October 31, 2005.

Clicking the Download from link or finding that reference article through your (online) library will lead you to the source for that particular claim made on Wikipedia. Read Smith, find the claim, and cite Smith as your source. It’s that easy.

Love Wikipedia as much as I do? Here are 9 more uses.