Generally you should not use encyclopedia entries as sources for your research papers. You can use them though to define terms or concepts, basic facts or biographical details.
Encyclopedia articles are also useful for deepening your knowledge and understanding of a subject, which may help you determine how to define your research question or structure your search. It is worth the effort to see what they can offer.
An academically safer alternative to Wikipedia. A great general encyclopedia.
Using the Web?
The Web is a source for background information also, but use it with care! There are ways to limit your searches to particular types of organizations, such as professional associations, special interest groups, government and education.
In a Google search you can use your topic description and a shortcut to limit your searches to non-profit organizations by entering your topic keywords and "site:.org" For example:
substance abuse, counseling, site:.org
Government sites would be, "site:.gov"
Educational sites, "site:.edu"
You still need to investigate each Web site to ensure it comes from a reputable source and to recognize any biases the organization may have.