Thursday, March 4, 2010


Many students today use technology as a means of retrieving information, rather it be current events or specific subject matters. Although many websites online can be helpful and useful to students studies, there must be some sort of precaution when doing so. Wikipedia, one of the top 50 most visited websites, is an online encyclopedia that allows anyone to write information about many subject matters. Although it is a good website to help in research, because anyone can write on the site it often includes bias and false/misleading information. Although many argue that the site is a good to share and learn about numerous amounts of subject matter, the site includes many flaws that can harm student’s judgment and knowledge about a particular subject. As a result, Universities should not allow Wikipedia to be cited in academic writings.

One of the reasons why Wikipedia is not a great source is because it can often include misguided and false information. Many students read the information on Wikipedia and believe that because it is on a popular and widely used web site that the information is correct. However, most do not know that anyone can go in and write information on the site, rather they be a scholar or a person with a keyboard. As a result, the sources are usually not credible which can result in students writing or learning about something that is entirely not true. Even Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, said “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia” in response to students complaints about a failing grade due to the inaccuracy of the information given by Wikipedia. This shows how even though it can be a good source to use, students should seek out other sources to make sure that the information is correct.

When using a website for information, students should seek out other sources to confirm that the statements are true and not bias. Although this goes along with every website you may use n research, this is especially true with Wikipedia because of the lack of control the site has in regards to peoples posts. “Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research; however, it is not an authoritative source” shows that although it is a good place to get some kind of idea about information you might find out during research through other sites, it should not be a primary one. This is significant because if students use inaccurate information, they might use that information in other academic courses and not even know it. As a result, they will not know that what they are writing may be false or include bias. If Universities allow students to use it as a source, they would be cheating the students by allowing them to believe the misinformation.

One of the main arguments that people make in regards to Wikipedia not being banned is that it includes a lot of information about different subject matter and is told through different perspectives. As a result, students are able to attain information and views that might not be expressed in more legit sites. Although learning and reading about different views is important, bias statements that do not have any sources or barely any truth behind it should not be included in academic writings. Another argument that students make is that if the University does not want students to use it as a primary source, they should teach students to use it. Although this is true, that is something that should be taught to student’s way before they enter the University.

Wikipedia, although it often presents good information about different subject matter, it should not be used as an academic writing source. This is because the information often includes bias and a lot of speculation that has no place in academic writing. More and more students are using the site as a main source without knowing or realizing this, which often results in failing or undesirable grades. As a result, many universities are considering if they already have not banning Wikipedia as being used as a cited source in academic writing. This should be done because the academic writings usually include analysis or facts about the topic; if they have received the wrong information, they cannot do so making the purpose of the writing obsolete.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...yes, some students might get poor grades for citing inaccurate information they got from Wikipedia. But do you think those same students would have done any better with "traditional" academic sources? What I'm wondering is, is Wikipedia the problem, or is it just allowing educators to see a bigger problem: namely, that a lot of students are not getting sufficient training in how to do academic research?