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How reliable as a source is the website wikipedia.com and is it a legitimate source of correct information?

Last Updated: Jun 30, 2015  |  54 Views
Topics: Research FAQ

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Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source.  The biggest problem with Wikipedia is that most Wikipedia pages can be edited by anyone.  This makes it impossible to determine who wrote the information and to know if they are an authority on the subject.  This is why most professors will not allow students to use it as a source.  When evaluating the reliability of a resource, these are the question you should ask: 

Authority:

  • Who wrote it?
  • What are his/her qualifications?
  • Is he/she an expert on the topic?
  • Who published it? 
  • Does the publisher have a commercial or ideological motive?

Objectivity:

  • Is the information factual research or based on opinion?
  • Is it biased?  Would the author benefit from convincing you she/he is right?

Accuracy:

  • Is the information true?  Do other works come to the same conclusions?
  • Is it based on good research?

Currency:

  • When was the information published?
  • Is it current enough for your research?

Generally, the more of these questions that you can satisfactorily answer the more reliable the resource is considered.

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