Thursday, March 4, 2010


I want to write about how Wikipedia should not be allowed by college students. That will probably be my thesis statement. Wikipedia should not be used my students in academic writing because it is unreliable.
I want to talk about the unreliability of the article’s information. The reasons being that any regular Joe could be writing on topics that he does not have expertise or knowledge in. This creates issues because then students will be using the wrong information in their academic writing. Encyclopedias in the first place are not “primary” sources. They also are not giving in depth information, just an overview. Therefore Wikipedia should not be used for academic writing in any case even if it was reliable. Most of my past professors did not even want secondary sources, especially in my biology class.

An example of Wikipedia being unreliable was with the article on John Seigenthaler. He was accused of being suspected for assassinating John F. Kennedy, which was totally not true. This is not the only case in which articles have been “vandalized”. I have been a witness of a person writing a totally bogus article on Wikipedia. As a school prank, my friend wrote on our high school Wikipedia article, “You have been Moshed”, an inside joke within our group of friends. That article was on Wikipedia for over a year, I think, and no one caught it. Anyone can “edit” these articles and write wrong information. Not only could information can be wrong but also an important fact can be omitted. Also it could be biased to the person’s opinion. This could extremely dangerous in stuff like global warming.

Another issue is the lack of good editors. There is no expert behind these articles making sure that the information is wrong or not. They don not edit the structure of the article. This makes articles organization very poor creating confusion for the students. According to the Nature article it is not a couple or articles contain these issues but a vast majority.

This is among the lines that I was thinking on writing about. Although I think Wikipedia is unreliable, some of the articles citations on the bottom are actually pretty good, so I was thinking maybe I could write on how Wikipedia should not be used as a source but that maybe students should use it was a starting point to find better sources. I am not sure how exactly I am going to incorporate that into my thesis just yet because it might make my essay confusing. Also I am not sure how I would expand this thought because that is my only point. I still have to do a little more research to develop my ideas even further.


  1. Just a thought -- the anecdote about your friend editing your high school's Wikipedia page might make for a good introduction to the essay. Your experiences in biology class would be good evidence in a body paragraph, but more details would be helpful; specifically, you could provide some examples of what your instructor did and did not want you to use as sources, to illustrate the difference between primary and secondary sources.