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ERIC Number: ED522722
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug-11
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
Examining Wikipedia's Value as an Information Source Using the California State University-Chico Website Evaluation Guidelines
Upchurch, John
Online Submission
The purpose of this work is to examine Wikipedia's role as a tool for instruction in website evaluation. Wikipedia's purpose, structural elements and potential failings as an authoritative information source are examined. Also presented are rationales for using Wikipedia as an instructional tool, namely the overwhelming popularity of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is among the most popular sites on the web, generating millions of hits every day. Additionally, high percentages of students report using Wikipedia as part of the research process. Wikipedia is a resource that is often more readily familiar to the new researcher than other traditional tools, such as online catalogs and article databases. Given these facts, it follows that librarians across the board should strongly consider using Wikipedia as an entry point into helping student develop greater engagement with and critical evaluation of information sources. To this end, Wikipedia as an entity is evaluated using widely adopted website evaluation criteria developed by the library faculty at California State University-Chico. These criteria are commonly referred to using the acronym CRAAP (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose). The broad criteria and the specific factors used in evaluation are defined. Wikipedia's satisfaction of each criterion is discussed and additional examples presented to provide greater clarity. Wikipedia satisfies the criteria to various degrees. Wikipedia most successfully satisfies the areas of currency, relevance and purpose. It demonstrates potentially troubling shortfalls in the areas of authority and accuracy, mostly due to lack of a traditional author and review structure, as well as the potential existence of bias in individual articles. Even with these shortcomings, librarians are encouraged to use Wikipedia as a springboard to development of greater engagement and critical evaluation skills. (Contains 1 table.)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A