ERIC Number: EJ1057718
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
Is Wikipedia a Reliable Learning Resource for Medical Students? Evaluating Respiratory Topics
Azer, Samy A.
Advances in Physiology Education, v39 n1 p5-14 Mar 2015
The aim of the present study was to critically evaluate the accuracy and readability of English Wikipedia articles on the respiratory system and its disorders and whether they can be a suitable resource for medical students. On April 27, 2014, English Wikipedia was searched for articles on respiratory topics. Using a modified DISCERN instrument, articles were independently scored by three assessors. The scoring targeted content accuracy, frequency of updating, and quality of references. The readability of articles was measured using two other instruments. The mean DISCERN score for the 40 articles identified was 26.4 ± 6.3. Most articles covered causes, signs and symptoms, prevention, and treatment. However, several knowledge deficiencies in the pathogenesis of diseases, investigations needed, and treatment were observed. The total number of references for the 40 articles was 1,654, and the references varied from 0 to 168 references, but several problems were identified in the list of references and citations made. The readability of articles was in the range of 9.4 ± 1.8 to 22.6 ± 10.7 using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level instrument and 10.0 ± 2.6 to 19.6 ± 8.3 using the Readability Coleman-Liau index. A strong correlation was found between the two instruments (r[superscript 2] = 0.744, P < 0.001). The agreement between the assessors had mean ? scores in the range of 0.712-0.857. In conclusion, despite the effort placed in creating Wikipedia respiratory articles by anonymous volunteers (wikipedians), most articles had knowledge deficiencies, were not accurate, and were not suitable for medical students as learning resources.
Descriptors: Medical Students, Educational Resources, Credibility, Metabolism, Web Sites, Electronic Libraries, Accuracy, Readability, Content Analysis, Incidence, Citations (References), Usability, Online Searching, Information Literacy, Instructional Material Evaluation, Information Sources
American Physiological Society. 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991. Tel: 301-634-7164; Fax: 301-634-7241; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://advan.physiology.org/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Flesch Kincaid Grade Level Formula