Wikipedia as a Credible Source

Topics: Peer review, Reliability, Editors Pages: 3 (875 words) Published: June 10, 2012
Wikipedia- is it a credible and valid source of information? Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. It contains millions of articles and depends mainly on volunteers and contributors to ensure that information are up to date. This is an open source that anyone can add and edit articles; so information may not always be accurate. It is the quickest and easier way to gain general knowledge on a specific topic. An encyclopedia is generally not a good source of reference in a paper; rather it can be a starting point in research the topic. The issue of reliability and credibility arises because of lack of credentials of editors, including biased view in content, articles are not peer-reviewed before publishing, source cited may be invalid, style, and tone lacks purpose. Some advantages of Wikipedia are clarification on topics and information is in clear simple terms for easy understanding. A disadvantages of using Wikipedia as source is the issue of editors creditability. There are numerous debate on this subject across different academic departments because the website allows anyone contribute to the contents without verifying his academic credentials or expertise on the topic. In addition, most of contributors’ information is anonymous; therefore there is no name to attribute the quotations to and this prevents reliability because no one knows about the editor. Wikipedia publishes contents contributed by all its editors. An example is a medical topic regarding lung cancer. The contents reflect information from not just doctors but from accountants who may not understand the topic. This means that contents regarding lung cancer is not only updated by doctors specialized in the field but also by lawyers, dentist, etc. According to Miller and Murray (2010) “Thus, as a general rule, Wikipedia is not an appropriate source to rely on for technical information that would only be correct if the editor had specialized knowledge, like the public or private nature of...
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