Teachers: why are you against students using Wikipedia as a source?

Teachers: why are you against students using Wikipedia as a source?

What do you think?

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  1. Wikipedia is great for cursory information, but it generally doesn’t provide the in-depth summaries necessary for deeper analysis. Treat it more like an encyclopedia or dictionary- good for the basic and generally universally agreed facts, but you wouldn’t cite it in an academic paper.

    There are also people who get nervous about the whole “anyone can edit articles” thing but in my experience this fear is usually overblown and can be mitigated by just teaching students how to critically evaluate sources and information.

    It DOES often link to good sources though, so be sure to work those citations to dig deeper.

  2. I would rather they look at wikipedia on background and then scrutinize the *sources* that are linked. There, they can find a lot of the information they might need if it’s a simple research project. Here you can enforce the use of credible sources.

    I think the ideal way the students see it is as a directory of sources. Not an authority on its own.

  3. My theory is that they think it’s information served on a silver plate. I bet they want us to go burrowing in library books and struggle like they used to.

  4. Not a teacher, but certain portions of wikipedia are most frequently edited by bored middle school students and other trolls, that makes it pretty unreliable in most fields. Don’t get me wrong, in some fields, experts really do spend a lot of time looking through wiki articles and fixing them, but most experts have better things to do.

  5. English teacher here. Imagine a big book in the middle of a park that anyone can come write in and leave cool info. It’s probably gonna be frequented by academic folks and people who love learning. But also, any random person can come leave some crap. So what do you do? You go read the book, then go to a library to confirm that info.

    The book is wikipedia. The library is confirming your sources/following the info where it leads. Most teachers actually have no issue with Wikipedia, as long as students understand its strengths and weaknesses.

  6. Because anyone can edit on Wikipedia and the information contained is unreliable.
    You can, however, use Wikipedia for information. But go to every citation and mark the source.

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