Wikipedia is the number one resource that students cite when conducting research. It usually is one of the top 10 search results for most topics researched by students. Because wikipedia can be edited by anyone most teachers question the accuracy of the data. In most cases, faculty members will not accept or recommend wikipedia as a primary source.
While I am in agreement that not all of the information is accurate I have found that most is. I like to utilize wikipedia when conducting research. I find that complex topics are explained in an easy to read format. I typically site information from wikipedia in my professional development classes. I also use it to understand more complex IT information that i need to know for my network admin responsibilities. I think it is a great place to start. I do agree that all information found on wikipedia needs to be checked and double checked for accuracy. It should not be your primary or only source.
The greatest resource on Wikipedia is the references. At the bottom of all entries is a references section. There it cites all the sources of information used to create the entry. These references are an excellent place to continue your research. This is a much more refined and effective method for finding sources then going through thousands of google search results.