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Wikipedia

 It's a great place to start.

​For years, you may have had teachers tell you to stay away from Wikipedia because it can't be trusted. But, I'd like to argue the other side of that story. While Wikipedia does make the disclaimer that "not everything in Wikipedia is accurate, comprehensive, or unbiased" (2017), it can be an excellent place to begin your research.

Regularly edited and improved over time, many articles can be counted on to provide an initial overview of a topic. The trick to making good use of Wikipedia is to start there and build some background knowledge. As you read, each additional piece of information will give you a new starting point. Your brain should be raising additional questions as you pursue your line of inquiry.

The secret second level of Wikipedia

Once you have given yourself a good foundation on the topic, it is time to dig a little deeper and Wikipedia can help here too. Often, it will lead you to some very fine primary sources. Just as your teacher asks you to keep track of your sources in a bibliography, Wikipedia requires contributers to cite their references and this is where the magic begins.

Scroll to the bottom of the article and check out the live links in the References  section. Some of them will be dead ends that take you to a library to which you do not have access but others will take you to pure treasure. While you are at it, check See also  and External Links.

Remember, the trick to powerful research is to continue to ask questions and search for answers, which of course will generate a whole new set of questions.

And on and on we go.

Have fun.