Author Options:

Is Wikipidea a Bad Source To Use at School Answered

Im a high schooler and my library teacher gave me a disiplinary referal for using wikipidea as a source for a research project, and for refusing to never use wikipidea in school. He gave me a one hour speach on how anyone can edit wikipidea and its all based on the personal belifs of people. So i guess my question is should you use wikipidea for fact's.


wikipedia is awesome and anyone who thinks otherwise is blasphemous. however, if using wikipedia info for a school report, don't source from wikipedia, instead source from wikipedia's sources. if the article is badly sourced, look elsewhere.

I'm gonna tell you a funny story. I believe like two or three years, we had to find some info on a topic ( I won't say which topic) Obviously everyone went for the easy method of using wikipedia. One of the students, whom we call chelo, cut all the info and wrote- "Chelo Beat You All !!!" A few hours later, he Pasted everything back though, but he made most of the students have to search somewhere else.


10 years ago

I think wikipedia is a good source, it's only bad if you use wikipedia as your only source. Anybody can edit it, true. But people from wikipedia do their research before editing. If there isn't a discusion topic before editing the page or its proven wrong its changed back.

But it wasn't my only source the requirements were 10 sources and I went above and beyond that

The good thing is that wikipedia lists it's sources, so you can just use those for the same info.


10 years ago

its all based on the personal belifs of people.

You know, all knowledge in any form, whether it's written, printed, or spoken, can be considered the personal beli(e)fs of people.

The great thing about Wikipedia, is that it IS peer reviewed. Constantly, and always updated with current revelations as we learn about a topic.

I think librarians are just afraid of being put out of business.

Just like everything else in life, don't take one source as your only reference. I like Wikipedia and I use it regularly, however I also corroborate their information with some other sources before I write or comment too much on anything. Having information is like a diet. How smart do you think you'll be if all you ate was just one thing?

No, it is not a validated scholarly source and should not be used as a reference source. Primarily you must bear in mind wikipedia information is subject to corruption by outside sources and as such may be inaccurate. Now with that out of the way I will say it is an excellent research tool to guide you towards material that you can use as scholarly references. I cannot tell you how many research papers’s I have done using wikipedia to guide me through the initial sorting process. By this process I save time, find more source material and create a better paper. This worked well for me in a college degree completion program, helps me in my work place and also helps with graduate school. creekwalker

How do you tell whether a source is a "validated scholarly reference" ? Seems like it's only slightly harder to get something in print than it is to get it on a web page, and there's a lot less chance of alternate viewpoints being added by parties that disagree... (and usually a lot fewer references to back up their claims.)

Ha! Good point.The best rule of thumb is that the material be located in an established publication that verifies its material. The other is the quality of said material and its author. As a general rule educational background past research and membership in professional societies. Not all publications are up to this standard nor are all of their writers. It's best to discuss such sources with your teacher or editor before including them. Copied does not as a rule readily identify individual authors nor substantiate the initial source material. This of course is much more involved as incorrect material will be removed in time.

No. Not really. It is great for quick information if you aren't thinking about double-checking your facts. People that load stuff on wikipedia can easily falsify information. Personally, I try to stay away from wikipedia. It is very unreliable.

Not to put the burden of proof on the opposing viewer, but can somebody find a revision of an article that: A) Contained an inaccuracy B) Said inaccuracy wasn't a no-brainer (i.e. NOT 'GW was a pokemon master', something like 'The space shuttle is 101 ft tall', when it is really 100 ft tall.) C) It does not have a [ [citation-needed]] mark D) It existed for at least 10 minutes, and during the entire 10 minutes, the above conditions were all true. Bonus points for longer persistance, and tons of bonus for finding something that is wrong right now, and fixing it ;-)

The cisco Systems has a picture of "A cisco ASM-32EM router" that is actually a terminal server. It also says that Len and Sandy "walked away" when in fact Sandy was fired (but: close enough?)

So - what's stopping you from fixing those things? Just click on the "edit this page" tab at the top of the page, and correct whatever you think is wrong. No need to register or create an account or anything...

It's called "Be Bold" - one of the primary Wikipedia editing policies.

I've always used wiki at school and college, without it learning would have been so much slower! They are mostly worried that you are going to copy their content though.

All my teacher and librarians tell us never to use Wikipedia. I guess it is logical, because it can be edited. BUT, the admins of wikipedia monitor what gets edited, which is a plus. I use wikipedia for extra information, such as births, definitions, etc... I dont cite wikipedia though.

School sucks! (citation needed) Wikipedia has people constantly checking if what people submit is true. I have never found anything false on it without citation needed next to it.

considering that for a day or two george washington was a "pokemon master" on wikipedia i would have to say no

Even though I am a teacher, I like wikipedia, and don't mind pupils using it.

However, I do mind if wikipedia is all they use. If I set a research task that involves more than finding out a few basic facts, I expect pupils to include a bibliography that lists all the websites, books or other media they referred to.

If wikipedia is the only website they use, then they get marked down for their research skills. If the only website they list is Google, they get nothing (some people seem to think that everything you find on google is part of google!).

If wikipedia was your only or main source of information, and you hadn't checked any of the external sources cited in the relevant article, then you deserved the lecture, but if it was only one source out of several, and you had listed all your sources in your bibliography, then you deserve an apology.

As for the referral, that depends on whether you had previously been warned against using wikipedia, maybe if it's a repeat offence?

If the school's policy is "no wikipedia", it should be a simple matter for them to block the url to the school network, negating the need to discipline some bolshy teen for refusing to avoid it.

And yes I been warned about using wikipidea before and I realize now after I had received the referral for insobordination

Ha! What a cowinkydink! I just wrote an essay, today, on the validity of Wikipedia.
It wasn't "use 'pedia for school papers", just acknowledging that not everything on there is a lie.
Trebuchet's comments on POV and citations were actually the 2 huge points in my essay... creepy!

I use wikipedia to find sources ;) Wikipedia is supposed to be a reiteration of already done research/works - if not, feel free to add the "citation needed" tag ;) The list of references is at the bottom - things are noted so you know what came from where :p Of course, you then need to judge for yourself how trustworthy the source is

If it doesn't have a source - don't use it.

He gave me a one hour speech on how anyone can edit wikipidea and its all based on the personal beliefs of people.

If it were me... I'd make my own wiki page - and cite is as reference (just because that's the type of person I am)... But given you have a one-hour speech to work with... I'd spend a good chunk of time explaining what wikipedia is supposed to be... NPOV (non point of view), with citations etc. Given the large user base - when someone is caught with POV (point of view) additions or edits - the entry is rolled back by someone else and it can be discussed on the talk page. You should also mention how articles subject to consistent POV material are closed down - "anyone can edit" is not the case for these articles...

Then I'd talk about how wikipedia may be abused - and then how one detects that (through research in citation)...


10 years ago

Generally speaking, you shouldn't really cite *any* encyclopedia, whether it's Wikipedia, or the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Doesn't mean it can't be an incredibly useful tool though!

I use it for personal reference, but never for school papers. Teachers hate it. Since it's not really peer reviewed, people can get away with writing a lot of things that aren't true. I certainly wouldn't recommend it. If you really need quick information, I would try going to .edu and .gov websites with good references. :)