“RADCAB”© is a checklist that you can use to evaluate web resources. Use the links for each element of the checklist to make a detailed inspection of the web sources you consider.
Is the information relevant to the question at hand? Am I on the right track?
Is the information suitable to my age and core values?
How much information do I need? Is the depth of coverage adequate?
When was the information published or last updated?
Who is the author of the information? What are his or her qualifications?
Why was this information written? Was it written to inform me, persuade me, entertain me, or sell me something?
1. Task Definition
1.1 Define the information problem
1.2 Identify information needed
2. Information Seeking Strategies
2.1 Determine all possible sources
2.2 Select the best sources
3. Location and Access
3.1 Locate sources (intellectually and physically)
3.2 Find information within sources
4. Use of Information
4.1 Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch)
4.2 Extract relevant information
5.1 Organize from multiple sources
5.2 Present the information
6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness)
6.2 Judge the process (efficiency)
Well, no, but it sure does supply a lot of answers. The trouble is that those answers need some support.
Use Wikipedia as a way to inform your research, but not rely on it as an academically viable option. For exploring the background of a topic, getting a sense of how something works, or generally discovering the basics of a new concept, Wikipedia is ideal.
If you find something useful, triangulate the results to confirm your results (then again, if you are triangulating using better resources, why not cite those?).
In addition to gaining a better background, Wikipedia is a fantastic place to learn search terms for your work.
Take advantage of the outside resources and links at the bottom of each article. Those are typically a gold mine of information.
Once you have the background of your topic(s) figured out, then dig more deeply into the topic with our various databases.