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Tip Tuesday #117

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
Today I have a tip from Christie Wright Wild. Christie writes picture books and middle grade and has been hanging around Lit Rambles for quite awhile now. You can find her at her website and blog as well as read a previous tip submitted by her here. Here's Christie's latest:

This is a research tip. We all know that Wikipedia is not a reliable source to cite for nonfiction research. However, it CAN be a reliable source for a STARTING point, even for fiction. It can define words, events, and people. It can give you more info for ideas of phrases to put in those lovely search engines we like calling "friend." Wikipedia will provide links to it's sources, leading you on a wonderful maze hopefully leading you to a small block of cheese at the end. I guarantee, somewhere along your path, you'll find a bit of gold at the end of your rainbow. And hopefully, it will be far, far away from Wiki. And thankfully, Wiki will have put us on a path in the right direction. Have fun at Wiki - it's the ticket-taker to your researching theme park fun!

~Christie Wright Wild


  1. Great tip Christie to follow the links to sources on Wikepedia. I'll have to try that the next time I do research.

  2. Great point! Using any site to stir ideas is always helpful!

  3. This is great advice! As a college librarian, I'm contently telling our students to use Wiki as a starting off place, NOT a place for deep research. Get a basic idea, and then use real sources for the full, conclusive information. But it is a great jumping off place!

  4. Man, I use Wikipedia a lot. It's a great starting point. Great tip!

  5. Wiki is pretty cool to begin...but especially for non-fiction, it shouldn't be used as the only source of information.

  6. That is a helpful tip. However, because I can access Brittania's online encyclopedia, I often start there.

  7. I love Wikipedia. Not as the only source of course, but sometimes you just need to know a little.

  8. Good tip! I'm teaching the kids in my class how to research and record sources and it's amazing how willing they are to believe whatever is in print on the Internet! :)

  9. Is there any evidence to support the contention that "Wikipedia is not a reliable source"? The only robust research I'm aware of showed exactly the opposite:

    1. Mike, a number of editors won't accept Wikipedia as a source for non-fiction work, because it is possible for people to post inaccurate information. It's a shame, but it's true.

    2. Thanks Mike & Ishta for your comments about Wikipedia here and below. I use it all the time when I'm researching creating a magical world.

  10. Great tip! I know that anyone can change things on Wikipedia so it's always good to back up the knowledge found there. I love using my library to back up information I've found on the internet, partially to support the libarary. :)

  11. I have no problems using Wikipedia for my research. I simply verify the info on another site, or check the refs, like you say. :)

  12. I know there's a bias against Wikipedia, but I've yet to see any evidence that the bias is based in reality. Vandalism to Wikipedia is possible, but is almost always corrected in hours, if not minutes. If you follow the link I posted, you'll see that there is evidence (a study reported in the prestigious journal Nature), that Wikipedia is roughly as accurate as Britannica--and therefore should be accorded the same respect, in my opinion.

  13. Wikipedia is also a great help when you are looking to translate a fixed event into another language. For example, I know the German word for the German 1848 revolution, but I didn't know the English one. So I looked it up on wikipedia and when I was on the right page, I changed the language to English. Voilà, I had the English translation. ;-)

  14. Good points made in the post, and thanks for being such a rich resource for those of us striving to eventually land the right agent for our work.


    P.S. This blog's been tagged-

  15. Great tip, thanks Christie. And thanks so much ladies for the book. I'm having a giveaway on my blog for another week if any of your readers are interested. A signed copy of The Doctor's Lady is up for grabs: