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02/06/2018

Using Wikipedia as a source

Wikipedia can provide users worldwide millions of articles on a wide spectrum of topics. Important question: “Is it OK to cite Wikipedia?” And it is the first line in the search engines for multiple requests. How can you not resist the temptation and not to use this most complete and affordable online encyclopedia for arguing their point of view? But just as often these arguments are breaking on concrete rebuke to opponents: “I Found also an authoritative source! You have another grandmother on the bench referred to!”

Is Wikipedia a reliable source for academic research?

Publishing house “Young scientist” will help you to understand why Wikipedia cannot be considered a credible source when writing a scientific article, dissertation or monograph, and what benefits you can still learn from this vast and entertaining store of knowledge.

Let’s start with the main issue why you can not fully rely on information from Wikipedia, and therefore should refrain from quoting it in research.

How to cite Wikipedia as a source:

  1. The first and most important reason it is written in the “Wikipedia”: “Wikipedia not regarded as a reliable source.” The quality of articles of Wikipedia is also unequal: some of them can be very high quality, others are nothing more than garbage. This alone is enough to be critical of the information contained therein. Those who wish to come to the point, focus on the following five points.
  2. The meaning of “Wikipedia” as a “people’s encyclopedia” is that it can edit anyone who has access to the Internet. So it is very easy to fill inaccurate information, false facts. Although in most cases the acts of “vandalism” are stopped, and the articles appear to due mind, sometimes, distorted due to negligence or malicious intent of the article can hang on a few months, introducing readers astray.
  3. Refer to the question of which sources are acceptable to use and quote research. Such sources are traditionally recognized as the official and scientific publications. Popular science, literary and art publication is only allowed as a subject of study. Textbooks and reference books to use in scientific papers is not recommended. The exception is made only for the most reputable scientific peer-reviewed publications. Everything about reference books, can be applied to Wikipedia.
  4. To assess the accuracy of any information that should answer two questions: “Who wrote this?” and “Why is it written?”. The accuracy of the information, we often estimate, based on the authority of its author. So, we are going to trust the conclusions of a famous scientist than a beginner in this field. As for Wikipedia, then it you won’t find the answer to any question outlined in the beginning of this paragraph. Any article no author as such: the majority of the creators of Wikipedia are anonymous, they hide under aliases, and we can’t find out who they really are, and, accordingly, cannot judge if they deserve trust.
  5. Despite the fact that technically, Wikipedia should Express a neutral point of view, resource managers often use their capabilities for inclusion in the article confirming their own concept. How to find the author of a Wikipedia page? Widely known at the time, got the English editor of Wikipedia since 2003, William Connolly, rewrote over 5,000 articles in accordance with the supported theory of global warming more than 2,000 disagree with his point of view.
  6. You can’t rely on any one source of knowledge, even the most authoritative. To human. In scientific publications, however, the probability of error is minimized. Dealing with a scientific monograph from the University library or an article from an academic journal, we know that several reputable scientists evaluated it and worthy of publication, over her job the editors and proofreaders. As for the sites (unless, of course, not a reputable scientific organization), the quote information contained therein not the best idea. The duty of the scientist is to question and to verify any information, evaluate and compare sources. And Wikipedia is no exception.

However, using Wikipedia as a source can be an excellent tool of research of a problem if you use it correctly.

How to cite Wikipedia in an essay

  1. Wikipedia can be a source of initial information about the study question, the introduction to the topic. This is a great resource for learning difficult subjects, for a better understanding of the issue and its linkages to other, related problems. Found use to find other credible sources.
  2. Wikipedia can be used as a context dictionary. Each article of Wikipedia is thematically linked to many other articles with hyperlinks. This will allow you to find other terms and concepts related to the research topic, will certainly stimulate thoughts and to delve deeper into the research question.
  3. Wikipedia is a source for finding new sources. The information contained in Wikipedia, it often contains a link to the source citation, and it can be a useful and authoritative source. How to cite Wikipedia in a bibliography? Use it for citations. Just don’t forget to familiarize with source citation and to ensure that this information is really there.
  4. Wikipedia can be used for more General information about the subject that you have forgotten and that there is no need to confirm the link to the source. For example, you can look at it any important dates, conditions for the occurrence of physical or chemical phenomena, the names of the founders of the famous company’s or country’s population. However, you should not rely in this matter on Wikipedia, and it is better to check these data for other reference books.
  5. The feature of Wikipedia is that in the tab “History” of each article, history of changes made to the article with the first to the last moment. And each reader has the opportunity to recover any kind of text with one click. Here you can get information about controversial issues on your topic.

Armed with a healthy dose of skepticism, you can make a “Wikipedia” the starting point of their research, but do not assume its truth and to use the information for citations or argumentation of his point of view.

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