Wikipedia is broadly misunderstood by faculty and students alike. While Wikipedia must be approached with caution, especially with articles that are covering contentious subjects or evolving events, it is often the best source to get a consensus viewpoint on a subject. Because the Wikipedia community has strict rules about sourcing facts to reliable sources, and because authors must adopt a neutral point of view, articles are often the best available introduction to a subject on the web.
The focus on sourcing all claims has another beneficial effect. If you can find a claim expressed in a Wikipedia article, you can almost always follow the footnote on the claim to a reliable source. Scholars, reporters, and students all can benefit from using Wikipedia to quickly find authoritative sources for claims.
Each footnote leads to a reliable source. The article as a whole contains over 160 footnotes. If you are researching a complex question, starting with the resources and summaries provided by Wikipedia can give you a substantial running start on an issue.