Presented by Ann Westrick
Funded by a grant from the Jerome Library
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio, USA
What is Wikipedia?
• Collaboratively written, electronic encyclopedia
Pros: Multiple viewpoints
Lots of links to related material
Con: Susceptible to vandalism so evaluation of
information is important
Why use Wikipedia?
“Wikipedia is an excellent starting point for student
inquiries and is particularly useful when investigating
emerging topics not covered through other sources”
(Lamb, 2013, p. 69).
“The prestigious journal Nature reported that
Wikipedia’s accuracy for science-based articles nearly
equaled the highly regarded Encyclopedia Britannica”
(Klotter, 2009, p. 38).
Wikipedia = Encyclopedia
You should use Wikipedia if you would:
– Use an encyclopedia to get background
information on a particular topic
– Look in an encyclopedia to get a general
answer to a general question
– Refer to an encyclopedia to help you get
the “big picture” of a concept or idea
Since Wikipedia is susceptible
to vandalism, use CARS for
• C = Credibility
• A = Accuracy
• R = Reasonableness
• S = Support
– (Badke, 2009, p.56)
C = Credibility
All Wikipedia articles are supposed to contain reliable
sources to support what’s being said (Wikipedia, 2013).
– If there are few or no links to an article, it may not
– Wikipedia regularly flags articles which need
Credible or not-so-credible?
A = Accuracy
You can see when a Wikipedia page was last edited by
clicking on the “View History” tab at the top of each
This page was last edited
just hours before this video
A = Accuracy
Additionally, Wikipedia regularly flags pages which may
need improvement. If you run across an article like
this, you should question its accuracy.
This article has
R = Reasonableness
• Wikipedia articles are intended to be neutral and not take a
side on any issue (Wikipedia, 2013).
– Wikipedia regularly flags pages which may which may be
biased. If you run across an article like this, you should
question its credibility.
A warning about an
article lending “undue
weight” to one side of
an issue may indicate
that it is unreasonable.
S = Support
Since Wikipedia is written collaboratively by
(sometimes) anonymous authors, verifying who is
writing can be almost impossible.
The “View History” tab will show
you who has authored each
page (though you will probably
never know who they really are).
Two of he
authors of this
S = Support
You can get some sense of whether or not other
Wikipedians trust a particular page by looking at “What
links here” to the left of each page. If a lot of other
pages link to the article you’re looking at, it’s a sign that
other people trust its information.
The article “Convention to propose
amendments to the United States
Constitution” links to over 500 other
Another way to judge the credibility of a
Wikipedia page is to click on “View Source”
at the top of the page. If a page is prone to
vandalism (like the one seen below) only
certain people are allowed to edit it. If you
find a “protected page,” it is watched more
closely and is more likely to be credible.
• All research sources should be evaluated – not
• Wikipedia is a good place to start your
research, but it’s a poor place to end. Always
refer to the sources Wikipedia cites to get the
Badke, W. (2009). Stepping beyond wikipedia.
Educational Leadership, 66(6), 54-58.
Klotter, J. (2009). Wikipedia reliability. Townsend
Letter, (306), 38.
Lamb, A. (2013). Wicked or wonderful: revisiting
wikipedia. Teacher Librarian, 40(4), 68-73.
Wikipedia:about. (2013). Retrieved from: http://