The PoliBlog

The Collective
Wednesday, June 23, 2024
By Steven Taylor

Clearly I am going to have to start officially banning Wikipeida from student papers. Yes, it is a handy tool for looking up a quick fact, but it is hardly adequate for research papers.

However, its increased usage of late shows 1) that it must have really good placement on search engine resultsm and 2) further evidence that students, unless explicitedly told otherwisem just jump on the internet to do “research.”

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    1. Wiki Woes
      Steven Taylor discusses problems with Wikipedia as a research tool and how he is probably going to have to officially ban his students from using it for papers….

      Trackback by Backcountry Conservative — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 1:06 pm

    2. IIRC, a lot of professors dislike it when their students rely heavily on encyclopedia entries for their papers. Why not treat Wikipedia as an encyclopedia?

      What have they been citing Wikipedia for? It strikes me as a handy tool for lassoing some uncontroverted facts and putting them into a paper, even a scholarly paper. Are they citing Wiki for the date of the Pelo … Pelo … the big war between Athens and Sparta? Wouldn’t that be a valid usage of Wikipedia?


      Comment by pennywit — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 1:41 pm

    3. I frown on the usage of encyclopedias as well. Although for basic facts, that isn’t a big problem. However, I have had a number of them use it a key source in a research paper, which is wholly inappropriate.

      Still, it is less an issue of encyclopedia usage as it is one of poor understanding of web usage.

      Comment by Steven — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 1:49 pm

    4. There was an article along those lines in the latest Chronicle of Higher Education. how google has become the “research” method of choice.

      many students are going to take the path of least resistance to get the project done. They’ll do a google search and call it research.

      Comment by bryan — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 2:56 pm

    5. This is clearly the case,

      My favorite example is the student who found a John Stuart Mill reference on PoliBlog and then cited it. I asked the student if she knew whose site it was, and she did not. She just found it via Google.

      Comment by Steven — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 3:07 pm

    6. I used Google to look up literary works regarding a specific topic, which I then used to round up actual books from the library, which I then cited in papers. I would occasionally use information links in my bibliography, but tried to avoid taking actual quotes from the Internet.

      I think ‘research’ via Google that way is fine…

      Comment by Jeremiah — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 3:10 pm

    7. Absolutely. I do the same thing. It isn’t that research via Google is verboten and worthles. It is just that most undergrads think that “research” means typing the a term into Google and then following the first couple of links.

      Comment by Steven — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 3:13 pm

    8. I’d say Wikipedia is worse than a real encyclopedia; at least with the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the material is written by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

      Wikipedia, on the other hand, is a giant plagiarized sink.

      Comment by Chris Lawrence — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 7:54 pm

    9. True enough–indeed, aren’t the articles simply submitted by readers?

      Comment by Steven — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 8:41 pm

    10. Depending on how each personal wiki server is set up by the person running it, people can made additions or sometimes even deletions to the original posting.

      Comment by Jeff — Wednesday, June 23, 2024 @ 11:47 pm

    11. “many students are going to take the path of least resistance to get the project done. They’ll do a google search and call it research.”

      Hence the danger of Google Bombs being used as a tool for organized disinformation/propaganda campaigns (Think Jew Watch, Think

      News Article

      Comment by Ken — Thursday, June 24, 2024 @ 5:55 am

    12. Old Search Engine, the Library, Tries to Fit Into a Google World
      Yesterday, Poliblogger Steven Taylor - who works in academia, btw - bemoaned the use of wikipedias in student research papers. In the comments to his post, I mentioned that there was a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education…

      Trackback by Arguing with signposts... — Thursday, June 24, 2024 @ 8:53 am

    13. Perhaps a quick tutorial for your students is in order at the beginning of the semester, in which you can show them how many ways Web-based research is flawed. For many topics, each site has a particular ‘take’ on the issue (do a few searches on Israel and Palestine).

      Then, you can tell the students to use whatever resources they like. Tell them Wikipedia is okay to do a preliminary lookup of a subject, but that actual hard-copy sources must be cited in order to achieve a good grade.

      That’s just how I’d do it, at least.

      Comment by Tom — Friday, June 25, 2024 @ 10:52 am

    14. Trust me: I try. However, I am going to have be more explicit about Wikipedia. That is a realtively new development for them.

      Comment by Steven — Friday, June 25, 2024 @ 11:00 am

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