March 19, 2012
Wikipedia is a free open sourced online encyclopedia. People from around the word are ableto add information and collaborate on creating informative articles and reviews about a range of different topics, from the meaning of a single word to a full country data. According to DavidFerriero, Archivist of the United States, “Overall, forty-two percent of Americans turn to Wikipedia for information.” (Ferriero, 2011) Students on all levels of education use Wikipedia as a regular resourceof information. But although, there is no question that Wikipedia has large amount of information available to all, can a students use Wikipedia as a reliable source, and should teacher acceptWikipedia as a good source of information?
As any other source of information available on the internet Wikipedia can be a credible and reliable source if the article presents the following criteria: validcredentials, impartiality, proper style and tone, and currency (Spatt, 2011). Although many people argue that Wikipedia is not reliable, they cannot argue if criteria above are present on theselected article.
To better demonstrate the reliability of Wikipedia lets apply the criteria on the Wikipedia article about the Amazon forest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_rainforest)How to apply reliability criteria on Wikipedia:
Validating credentials: Because Wikipedia is an open source, it is impossible to validate the credentials form the author. But it is possible toverify the credential of the cited sources. The Article above, have citations from reliable institution such as Government and Universities (Ie: University of Michigan, Museum of Paleontology, Departmentof Geography, and University College London)
Impartiality: After reading the Amazon article, it is possible to see that it is free of biases or dogmatic. It is important to remember, that although...