Re-examining Wikipedia as a resource

Madelle Borschman

Research output: Resource/documentResource


This week we looked at the article published in the conversation titled “Students are told not to use Wikipedia for research. But it’s a trustworthy source”.

The article discuss is how Wikipedia is often seen as a source that is untrustworthy and ill-suited for academic purposes due to the ambiguity of its publishing date and authorship. Wikipedia pages are edited by multiple authors and undergo constant revision. they may also be authored by people who are not research experts in the topic area.

The article argues that despite the above-mentioned facts about Wikipedia articles, that due to both algorithmic and person-driven reviews of articles, that misinformation hardly ever remains on Wikipedia pages for long, and that peer reviewed articles are actually more in danger of misinformation due to small panels of reviewers and it’s static nature once published.

The team discussed how discouraging students from using particular tools completely often has a counterproductive effect. these tools fulfil very specific purpose for the students, and if they do not know of any replacements that can be easily implemented that does meet the requirements of the university, they are likely to keep using the tool anyway or resort to academic misconduct. similar conversations could be had about writing and editing tools like Grammarly or paraphrasing websites.

Instead the emphasis should be on judicious usage of available tools. In Wikipedia’s case, this might be encouraging students to do their background reading through Wikipedia articles so that they might gain some familiarity with the topic before they use academic articles for the actual research purposes.

Both studies support and library teams agreed that workshops could be developed focusing on tools available to students and how to incorporate them into their study habits whilst still maintaining academic integrity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2021


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