Is Wiki a reliable source or not? (Use as a comparison) vs

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Wikipedia Analysis Paper

Images of Wiki
Reliable and authoritative or not? Let’s find out.
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Many students assume that the online, free encyclopedia, Wikipedia is a valid, authoritative and useful reference source for their scholarly work as a student at NVCC. Many teachers say that Wikipedia is garbage and should never be used. Which is it?

In this assignment, we will be examining just how authoritative (and stable) Wikipedia (aka wiki) is. First, you will examine a specific entry from Wikipedia and check for changes that have occurred over a period of six months, and then you will compare the information from the Wikipedia entry with the information from an established reference source such as the Encyclopedia Britannica (EB).

Since you may have never really looked carefully at a Wikipedia entry, I want you first to look at my Explanation of Using Wikipediabefore you start this paper assignment.

  1. For your comparison of a Wikipedia entry with the same entry in EB, you should choose a research term that is in some way relevant to the material that you have covered in your course, and that term must be clear, focused and doable. For example, “World War II” or “The Roman Empire” or “communism” are historical terms that are too large to analyze in this assignment. You simply are not going to be able to expertly compare 12 pages of material on, for example, World War I, with the twelve pages of material in EB. It is often easiest to pick an individual.
  2. Your Wikipedia term must fit the chronolgy of your course (before 1500 CE for HIS 101 and HIS 111; after 1500 CE for HIS 102 and HIS 112)
  3. Your analysis paper should be no more than two pages. double-spaced, one-inch margins, font size 10 or 12. Your paper should assess the overall stability and authoritative nature of the Wikipedia entry for your research term. Your paper should compare the specific information contained in both the Wikipedia and EB entries. Consider such questions:
    • How much have the Wikipedia and EB entries changed (or not changed) over a period of at least six months?
    • Do we have any idea of the credentials of the authors who created the Wikipedia and EB entries?
    • Do the entries footnote sources of information and provide suggested reading and websites?
    • Why did the entries change?
    • For your topic, how does the Wikipedia information compare with the information in EB? This is the most important part of your analysis, and you should provide some specific examples.
  4. Since you are writing a comparison, you need to be fair. For example, if you examine how many times Wikipedia changed, then you should examine how many times EB changed.
  5. Here are some examples of very well done papers: (Sophia Lutz).

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Is Wikipedia good or bad? That is partly what you are answering in this assignment, but I would also like to point out that a “Wikipedia” article can often be an excellent starting point for research on a topic or a quick source of general information. For example, I often check Wikipedia if I am looking for the birth or death dates of a historical figure. I would also point out that a Wikipedia entry is especially valuable when it includes footnotes, citations of sources and suggested sources for further information (often in the form of external links). Finally, Wikipedia can be extremely useful on topics of relatively newer historical events. For example, in my HIS 242 (History of Russia II) course, I ask that students check the entry for the Beslan School Hostage crisis. This is an exceptional article–although its quality varies a bit from month to month.

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Please consult Charlie’s History Writing Center for specific information on the writing requirements of this course.

If you have not already done so, you should watch the short video on this assignment.

Your assignment should be submitted on Blackboard following the directions for submitting assignments