All at some time we have turned to Wikipedia, this great online encyclopedia to consult some information, no matter the level of studies we have, we should not lie about it. But is it a source for academic work? For reasons of prestige and trust, we must say no.
This great, highly updated digital encyclopedia, which works collectively through the free, almost altruistic participation of people from all over the globe who seek to spread knowledge, has become an inexhaustible source of information. And at the risk of raising controversy we must admit that Wikipedia is a good informative project.
So, why should not it be an academic source? The first reason is because there is no system that guarantees the veracity of the information. Many people can collaborate with articles for the encyclopedia, but we can not assure that their authors are specialists in the subject. The publications are collaborative and this suggests that volunteers help each other to give quality information, however almost anyone can intervene and edit.
The second reason, the project policies emphasize the consent of their collaborators to the detriment of critical evaluation. This means that as long as the volunteer writers agree with a topic, it can be uploaded to the encyclopedia, regardless of the veracity of the contents. The support offered by the editorial process: review, correction and arbitration of academic articles are not fulfilled in Wikipedia.
WIKIPEDIA AND RELIABILITY
Specialized publications in scientific research go through a process of rigorous selection and scrutiny, known as “peer review” or arbitration by a panel of juries, who are responsible for verifying the relevance of the content. Thus, when the text reaches the reader’s hands, he can trust that what he reads is not an invention. With this we do not want to ensure that what appears in the famous encyclopedia is mere invention, but if there is a security and validity issue that is doubtful. For academic work it is very important to have security from the sources of information consulted.
Students use this online portal for practicality and speed. It is much easier to process a summary, than going directly to the source or face the understanding of more complex texts and writing styles that require certain reading skills. However, this attitude helps nothing to develop university work and, much less, a thesis.
TIPS FOR THE USE OF WIKIPEDIA AS AN INFORMATIVE SOURCE:
You can continue to consult Wikipedia, but we give you these brief tips so that you can do it correctly when it comes to your academic work.
Only for summary information: useful for a first approach to a topic, to know general data, that is, to make a panoramic idea about an issue.
Consult punctual information: locations, years, names, title of works, etc. Never for a theoretical framework.
Check the references: some publications have a list of references that is very valuable to find direct sources of information. Sometimes the tickets mentioned have an online version that you can download.
External links: almost nobody takes them into account, they are located at the end of the text and take you to main sources of information.
Choose wisely the documents you consult and enrich your work properly.