Is Wikipedia the Bane of Internet Research?

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Wikipedia is a divisive source when it comes to Internet research. Many colleges and universities will not let students cite Wikipedia as a source regardless of the quality of the source page. Lots of people will use Wikipedia as a byword for Internet sources that are widely used but terrible. However, Wikipedia is not necessarily deserving of all of the criticism that it attracts. It is a website that has some utility, even in the modern Internet.

It is important to see if the Wikipedia page in question has any notices in the headers that say that the website needs more work or that there are citations needed. These problems can weaken the overall page. However, many other pages on Wikipedia actually are going to be full of accurate information in spite of the reputation that Wikipedia has attracted. Plenty of people get personal fulfillment from editing Wikipedia, including individuals who are genuine experts in a particular topic. It is possible to get useful information from the Wikipedia website.

For one thing, Wikipedia doesn’t have to be the only source that people consult in order to be useful. It is rarely a good idea to consult only one source on any research adventure. Wikipedia can sometimes give people the informative background that they need in order to consult with other sources. Wikipedia pages are also equipped with the sort of external links at the bottom of pages that actually can serve as important starting points for the individuals who are interested in learning as much as possible about a particular topic. In that regard, Wikipedia pages almost act as specialized search engines. People can take advantage of the research that other people did when it came to crafting the original Wikipedia page.

It is true that anyone can edit Wikipedia. However, it is also generally true that vandalism is going to be reported quickly and the research errors that remain unreported on the majority of other websites are almost always going to attract immediate attention on Wikipedia. The crowd-sourced nature of Wikipedia constitutes its greatest strength and weakness in many cases. However, it is still possible for people to be able to get something out of a reading of a Wikipedia page, even though it is still important for them to avoid relying on something that is subject to change and will not always have the barriers of a more professional website.