Wikipedia is probably the best known information resource on the internet. It is a modern day encyclopedia that seems to have a little information about everything you may need to know, and it is completely free to use. In spite of all this though, there are some downsides to using Wikipedia that you need to keep in mind. Before you use this site to supplement your foensic psychology degree program, you need to make sure you know everything there is to know about Wikipedia. Here are some pros and cons to consider before relying on this site as a resource.
The Pros of Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a great place to go for general information. If you’re just trying to get a straightforward answer as to what something is, you can find that in the first sentence of every Wiki page. You don’t have to worry about sorting through a long ass introduction to get to what you want to know. Everything should be laid out right there for.
Another great feature in Wikipedia is the fact that it is advertisement free. Most sites like this make money because of the ads they place on the sides of their pages, and those ads can get incredibly annoying after a while. The only way that Wikipedia makes money is through donations, which they ask for once every year. With the money they raise, they are able to pay their staff members and continue producing great content for everyone to use – free of charge.
Wikipedia also has links to information that you may want to learn more about, so you can answer your own questions without having to go through another resource. If you read an article about architecture and you want to learn more about what a vestibule is, you can click on the link and read all sorts of information about vestibules. Then you could click on a link from there to learn information about another topic you don’t know much about. The cycle continues from there.
The Cons of Wikipedia
Some pages on Wikipedia seem a little cluttered with information, which may not be a bad thing for some people. Even though the site has that little intro at the top, there is still a lot of information to sort through elsewhere. I don’t like having to go on a quest to understand a topic. I like to know about the most basic components of it so I can fully grasp what is going on. I can’t always do that with Wikipedia.
Another problem that comes with using Wikipedia is the fact that it was not written by experts. It was written by everyday people like you and me. Sure, these people usually cite their resources, but you can’t fully trust the information on the site. Most college professors will not allow their students to use Wikipedia because of this. If you are looking for a fool proof site to collect information from, this may not be what you need.
Wikipedia is a good reference material if you just want to get an idea of what a topic is about. If you want hardcore facts about its history and significance, you may want to refer to a secondary source. Check out the footnotes on most Wikipedia pages and see if you can actually pull information from those. If so, you can ensure that the information you are learning is legit. With the right skepticism, you should be able to use Wikipedia in your future research without a problem.