This school year I've heard a lot of students saying how they can't use wikipedia for their papers. This is what I have to say about Wikipedia.
Everyone uses it. How could you not? It's always in the top three results if you Google something, and most of the time, it pretty much explains what you need to know. For example, I read a lot of blogs, and people were always talking about trackbacks. I didn't know what a trackback was, so I googled it, and the Wikipedia article explained it. Done.
That being said, Wikipedia is not an academically acceptable source for a college-level research paper. How do I know? Because it says it on Wikipedia.
In all academic institutions, Wikipedia, along with most encyclopedias, is unacceptable as a major source for a research paper. [link]
That doesn't mean you can't look things up on Wikipedia. In fact, at the bottom of each entry, there are usually a list of External links that can be very useful- and in some cases, you COULD use those for your paper. You need to see who wrote the information, when it was written, and why they wrote it, and then double check with your professor, but there are often great resources in the External links list. Ask your librarian if you need more information.
Finally, there is a 45 minute movie called "The Truth About Wikipedia". It's posted on YouTube right here. You might want to check it out!