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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An interesting devlopment

Despite the rather contentious title of the article, it seems that Wikipedia founders agree that the online, community-drive encyclopedia is not the be-all and end-all of research:
"Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research and get a global picture of a topic, however, it is not an authoritative source. In fact, we recommend that students check the facts they find in Wikipedia against other sources. Additionally, it is generally good research practice to cite an original source when writing a paper, or completing an exam. It’s usually not advisable, particularly at the university level, to cite an encyclopedia." (Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education - Inside Higher Ed :: A Stand Against Wikipedia)
Ultimately, this statement represents the consensus of academic researchers. Student writers should look beyond encyclopedias for their research. This includes all encylopedias, even the most authoritative ones. It is important to help student writers understand what encyclopedias are, how they are written, and how they differ from more formal academic research, no matter their medium or their editorial board--or lack there of.