How To Use Wikipedia For Research

Wikipedia can be a good place to start if you’re looking for information. On the other hand, it’s frowned upon in some academic circles. For example, it is not acknowledged as a replacement for primary sources because it is a non-traditional source. Moreover, you can see why academics are wary of Wikipedia research. To begin, anybody with a computer and an internet connection may create and edit articles. A Wikipedia administrator may not notice these modifications for weeks or even months. Even if Wikipedia isn’t your major research tool, these seven methods will help you get the most out of it.

Verify the Original

Remember that nothing on Wikipedia should be treated as gospel, especially if you’re doing research there. An open encyclopedia means that anybody may edit and add to the site. There is a chance that the information provided is not correct as well. Always verify the Wikipedia article’s source before using it. The Wikipedia article’s reference section can be used to verify the source (all articles on Wiki have this). 

Learn to Identify Reliable Articles

Articles on Wikipedia are given a grade depending on the quality and credibility of the content. Look for “Good or Featured” articles when performing your study. If you see a green plus sign or a gold star in the upper left of your screen, you’ve found a relevant article. They have been vetted for accuracy and reliability by Wikipedia’s editors and are deemed trustworthy.

Use Other Sources as a Reference

A good place to begin your study is Wikipedia, although it is not the only source of knowledge. Verify the facts you get on Wikipedia using additional sources outside of Wikipedia. Scholarly journals and books produced by professionals on the topic are just a few secondary sources available to you when you do your research.

Using the “History” tab, you can see how an article’s content has changed.

When utilizing Wikipedia as a research source, the “History” tab may track the evolution of articles. The most current update and accuracy of an article may be determined.

It’s also possible to view the editors’ modifications to an article by looking at its history. This information can bolster an article’s credibility.

Use the “Reference Desk” to Get Wikipedia Volunteer Insights

Ask whatever question you want on Wikipedia’s virtual reference desk, save for medical or legal advice. A response will be provided by a volunteer on Wikipedia.

Any user like you can answer the question. Thus the answer you receive here may or may not be correct. As a result, you might ask the respondent to supply you with links or other evidence to support their assertion.

The Wikipedia Reference Desk is located at the bottom of Wikipedia’s Other sections. Choose Reference Desk as your workstation. Upon selecting a category for your question, click “Ready?” on the next page to proceed. Ask as many questions as you like!

Conclusion

While Wikipedia may be an invaluable research tool, it must be utilized with extreme caution. For this reason, you should look for reliability indicators before relying on the content of any article. However, if you learn how to use Wikipedia effectively, it may be a useful research tool.