Many students assume that the online, free encyclopedia, Wikipedia is a valid, authoritative and useful reference source for their scholarly work as a student. Many teachers say that Wikipedia is garbage and should never be used. Which is it?
In this assignment, we will be examining just how authoritative (and stable) Wikipedia (aka wiki) is. First, you will examine a specific entry from Wikipedia and check for changes that have occurred over a period of six months, and then you will compare the information from the Wikipedia entry with the information from an established reference source such as the Encyclopedia Britannica (EB).
- For your comparison of a Wikipedia entry with the same entry in EB, you should choose a research term that is in some way relevant to the material that you have covered in your course, and that term must be clear, focused and doable.
- Your analysis paper should be no more than two pages. double-spaced, one-inch margins, font size 10 or 12. Your paper should assess the overall stability and authoritative nature of the Wikipedia entry for your research term. Consider such questions:
- How much has your selected Wikipedia entry changed (or not changed) over a period of at least six months?
- Do we have any idea of the credentials of the people who created the Wikipedia information, or who made the changes?
- Were any changes the result of sound, scholarly research?
- Why did the entry change?
- How does the Wikipedia information compare with the information in EB? This is the most important part of your analysis, and you should provide a specific explanation about the Wikipedia entry’s information in comparison to the information in EB.