Wikipedia is an excellent ‘springboard’ for the genesis of research on almost any given topic. It carries the ‘.org’ suffix which is shown to ad to a sites credibility and is moderated by administrators which would make it seem even more credible (Fogg, 2003). However, while these attributes may make it a credible website in some regards, it does not meet the standards for academic assignment references.
Finding general information about a topic on Wikipedia is easy and usually one of the first sites that appears in search engine results. But there is a fundamental flaw in its design that discounts its credibility for academic purposes; anyone can edit it and make entries. This openness is its downfall.
Wikipedia entries can be penned by anyone and while they may get taken down if they are outrageously false, the authors credibility cannot be verified. It is through the references used by the article that valid, peer reviewed and credible information can be accessed. There is no academic body that governs Wikipedia and thus the information presented there cannot be vouched and trusted.
Peer reviewed journals with worldly reputations for excellence and aplomb are the best source of information for academic assignments and the only ones really worth referencing.
Fogg, B. J. (2003). Credibility and the World Wide Web. In Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (pp. 147‐181). Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.