Hea Bio Wikis V Rolfe Dec07

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Short talk on exploring with students acceptable ways of using Wikipedia in scientific research.

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Hea Bio Wikis V Rolfe Dec07

  1. 1. The Wonderful World of Wikis Presentation to: HEA Bioscience Centre Meeting 11th December 2007 By: Dr Viv Rolfe BSc PhD MIBMS FHEA vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  2. 2. Wikipedia needs no introduction • Every minute 300 babies are born and 400 words added to Wikipedia. • 8% of global internet users visited Wikipedia yesterday. • 16% of users are in US. • 250 languages. www.Alexa.com – internet surveillance. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  3. 3. I was glad to see the Bioscience Centre had a space on Wikipedia… vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  4. 4. …but why am I interested in it? • 1st year student essay on “why studying cells and tissues is important in science”. • I was amazed how many students cited Wikipedia in their references. • Turnitin identified it as a common source of “similar” information. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  5. 5. Aims of the Project • Analysis of Turnitin reports to see the extent of the problem? • What were students’ perceptions of using it? • Should students be using it? vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  6. 6. Turnitin Analysis • Evaluate the use of W in reference lists and whether W was identified as a “similar” source in the originality report. • Only assessed significant matches i.e. >2% similarity. • Caveat – T might actually be underestimating: – Doesn’t always find the 1y source of info. – Doesn’t always identify news or very recent info. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  7. 7. Citing Wikipedia? • Out of 76 students: – 29% cited W in their reference lists. – 4% cited W more than once. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  8. 8. Was W identified as a similar source? vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  9. 9. High levels of similarity linked to higher numbers of sources Levels of Number of Average similarity students number of similar sources High (>50%) 6 7.2 Moderate 17 4.0 (25-50%) Low (<25%) 53 1.5 vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  10. 10. High levels of similarity corresponded to higher use of Wikipedia Average student use of Wikis as a source of copying 1.6 Wikipedia 1.4 Wiki + others No. of times W identified 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 High Medium Low Levels of similarity vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  11. 11. “Others” • Websites that use Wikipedia information or are alternative Wikis: • http://www.witwib.com • http://www.biologydaily.com • http://www.unipedia.info • http://www.encyclopedia.com • http://www.wikifaq.com vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  12. 12. Summary • Surprisingly (to me) high number (third) of 1st year students cited Wikipedia as a scientific resource. • There was a relationship between use of Wikipedia and poorer academic practice. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  13. 13. To WIKI or not to WIKI, that is the question? vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  14. 14. The Yay’s…. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  15. 15. Jim Giles, 2005, Nature paper. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  16. 16. …but actually, • Jim Giles, 2005, Nature paper. • Analysed 42 subjects. • Wikipedia (162 errors) contained a third more errors than Encyclopedia Britannica (124 total errors). vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  17. 17. Student perception • Discussions in computer lab tutorials (n=84 1st year students). • Wikipedia is popular with students “one of the first places I look for information”. • They didn’t understand what constituted good scientific evidence was and how to identify it. • I wanted to harvest their enthusiasm for it to demonstrate good scientific practice. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  18. 18. Exercise • Worksheet on the topic of flatulence (as part of gut physiology lecture series). • Comparison of Wikipedia to Medline resources. • Looked at: accuracy, currency, authority, etc. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  19. 19. Accuracy • Looked at whether a statement was factually correct: • “Anything that causes food to be incompletely digested in the small intestine may cause flatulence when the material arrives in the large intestine due to fermentation, particularly if yeast organisms are present”. Wikipedia 2007 vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  20. 20. Reliability • “Certain spices counteract the production of intestinal gas, most notably cumin, caraway……”. Wikipedia 2007. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  21. 21. Students’ conclusions • It is not robust scientific evidence. • Unknown authorship makes citation difficult. • Use to generate key words when faced with a new subject. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  22. 22. Authorship vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  23. 23. Vandalism • Barking spiders. • Barbra Streisand. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  24. 24. My conclusions • Giving 1st years a free reign to use W is a useful way of discussing scientific evidence and developing critical evaluation skills. • I wouldn’t expect yr 2 and 3 students to cite Wikipedia! • Too many intrinsic problems to be a reliable source but some of this is changing. • Universities are using W in creative ways to assess student contributions, rather than a blanket ban. vrolfe@dmu.ac.uk Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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