It's on the Internet, so it's true... right?
Do's and Don'ts of Wikipedia
- use Wikipedia to become familiar with a topic or as a starting point for research
- use Wikipedia to find more search terms or keywords for your research topic
- maintain a level of skepticism when reading Wikipedia articles
- cite Wikipedia articles in your bibliography for assignments or papers
- treat information on Wikipedia as facts, especially when concerning legal or medical advice
What is Wikipedia?
"Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model." - Wikipedia
This online encyclopedia is a collaborative, cooperative effort by volunteer writers to provide up-to-date information on any subject imaginable.
Wikipedia is one of the most popular reference websites online, with millions of visitors every month. There are more than 19 million articles and 82.000 active contributors.
Wikipedia is guided by the following principles, referred to as the Five Pillars:
- Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
- Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view.
- Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute.
- Editors should interact with each other in a respectable and civil manner.
- Wikipedia does not have firm rules.
Locate, Evaluate, and Use Information
The Evaluation Process
- Understand the spectrum between fact and opinion.
- Question issues of perspective, point of view, and bias.
- Be skeptical of everything you find.
Be mindful that there are many different types of information online, from research data to opinions.
Compare and contrast different information resources.
Are your sources credible and useful, or are they a bunch of . . .?!
The CRAAP Test is a rubric that helps you determine if the sources you found are accurate and reliable. Keep in mind that the following list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.
Key: * indicates criteria is for Web sources only
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
|Relevance:The importance of the information for your needs.|
|Authority: The source of the information.|
|Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.|
|Purpose: The reason the information exists.|
View the Rickman Library rubric for evaluating sources, the CRAAP test. View the Rickman Library evaluating sources slide show.
This is a modified version of a document created by Sarah Blakeslee at Meriam Library, CSU Chico.
Evaluating Sources of Information from the Purdue OWL
Is Wikipedia a scholarly source?
"Wikipedia is not considered a credible source. Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible or authoritative source. This is especially true considering anyone can edit the information given at any time."
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