Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wikipedia and original research

The Little Professor drew my attention to this discussion on the Wikipedia entry for danah boyd. Fascinating stuff.

As The Little Professor points out, there are some interesting issues surrounding Wikipedia's policy on original research. In this document, Wikipedia's community has made an interesting distinction between "original research" and research undertaken using primary sources. According to this policy, my dissertation, which relies extensively on archival sources, does not qualify as "original research." Egads! Please don't let my committee know.


ArticulateDad said...

Did you see this at the Chronicle of Higher Education? It's somehow remarkable that some people just don't get it.

ps. I won't tell your committee.

Seeking Solace said...

I just busted one of my students today for copying an entry from Wikipedia in her research paper without citing the source. It was a discssion on a Supreme Court case that had some errors in it!

The History Enthusiast said...

I try to devote some time with my first-year students to talking about how to be critical when using web resources. Needless to say, we discuss the pitfalls of Wikipedia. I can't tell you how many of my students last fall wrote their paper on the narrative of Frederick Douglass using only Wikipedia. Many of them never picked up Douglass's text!
One way to get the point across is to get online during class, if you have a computer and projector in the room, and physically go on and change one of the entries to something ridiculous...like saying that Queen Elizabeth loved to wear green underwear. Students really get the point when they see how anyone can edit these entries. Of course, you should immediately go back in and fix whatever you altered ;-). Anyway, some of my fellow grad students have done this and had great success. Just a thought!

My site:

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