Wikipedia for references? Essay
Wikipedia for references?
The world is entering a new era after the invention of internet. People start to change their ways of livings as long as internet provides efficiency and convenience. For example, we can use online banking instead of lining up for bank service; we can purchase goods on the internet which will be delivered to you in a short while; and we can also look up the news around the world with a few “clicks” with the mouse. Internet revolutionizes all sectors in our economy and it affects everyone considerably.
Since we are subjected to more internet researches and computer-based essays, the reliability of the internet resources has become a concern for both the teachers and students. It is our responsibility to ensure the references are valid, up-to-date and truthful. Teachers always advise and encourage students avoid using Wikipedia’s sources because it is not reliable at all. That is partially true because the dependability of the Wikipedia’s information can be judged based on the comparison with other reliable resources, the frequency of editing and the wordings and tone of the materials.
The quality of the Wikipedia’s sources is in fact depending on what you are trying to retrieve. If we solely utilize the Wikipedia’s resources for our references, we will certainly fail. The inferiority of Wikipedia is that the information provided is relatively unofficial and inconsistent. We can validate the trustworthiness of Wikipedia by comparing the information with other reliable and authorized websites. There are two advantages for the comparison.
First, we can double-check the credibility of the information by comparing the theories or facts with the reliable sources like the professionals’ homepages. Thus we can immediately make use of our analytical skills to find out the differences between the Wikipedia and the reliable sources. After that we can evaluate if the dissimilarity will affect the reliability of the information or not. Secondly, we can extract more relevant information and combine them together to have a more completed picture for the information in order to persuade ourselves to believe in the data.
By the method of comparison and combination, we can further ensure that the Wikipedia’s information is accurate and useful if we know the right method to appraise it. The most fatal criticism of Wikipedia is the editing function. It basically means that everyone who has the access to internet can edit the texts without permission. It adds to the uncertainty for the sources. Under this circumstance, we can check the editing history before we look into the content of the page.
The editing history displays all the information about the editing, including the date of edition, the IP address of the editor and the edited contents. We can minimize the possibility of wrong information by checking the edited paragraphs to see if the added contents are compatible with the original texts. We can develop our critical thinking skills from this because we have to think before we obtain and acquire new knowledge from the websites. In addition, we can look through the citation or the external links provided by the Wikipedia’s page to append an extra security for the truthfulness of the article.
Wikipedia’s usability is counting on the users’ filtering ability too because all kind of medias like newspaper, radio and magazines may contain some erroneous materials. This is up to us to believe it or not. We have the ability to distinguish among the truth and distorted. Therefore by examining the editing history of Wikipedia together with our critical thinking skills, we can be more asserted that the piece of material is trustworthy and it will be accepted and welcomed by our candid professors.
The last and the most important step for ensuring the validity of the Wikipedia would be the wordings and tone. It is really significant for us to actually skim over the whole text before we use them because the editor may put something like “I like” or “in my opinion” and that would be extremely subjective and confusing. At the same time, editors occasionally use the wrong tone to express their opinions or ideas on the passage. If the authors edit the page in their own perspectives, that will lead to an unfavorable outcome because personal opinion may be inserted.
It is our responsibility to inspect the objectivity of the Wikipedia because a more subjective passage will be less reliable than an objective passage since some individual comments may be added and that will be a wrong tone for an informative passage. By dissecting the wordings and tones, we can train our patient and endurance to absorb information from a long passage and also we can develop our objectivity skills to distinguish between general idea and personal opinion. Moreover, we can develop the observational skills because we will start looking at the key words in the passage for clarification of the objectivity.
By verifying the wordings and tone of a Wikipedia’s source, we go a step further to guarantee the authenticity and precision of the passage. It is unquestionably a difficult dilemma whether we should use Wikipedia as our references because it has both pros and cons. By using the method of comparison, examining the number of editing and analyzing the wordings and tones of the passage, we can maximize the credibility of the data and context. Mr. Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, had said,” Wikipedia has 1.
3 million articles in several languages and is constantly updated by its visitors, from addicts who spend hours a day adding pages to casual Web surfers who correct spelling errors, then move on. ” Thus we can glimpse that there are many people who specifically work on the correction every day. It additionally strengthen our confidence on the Wikipedia and hence students should be reassured that Wikipedia’s information is faithful and teacher should be convinced that Wikipedia’s resources are genuine, original and reliable.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 July 2017
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