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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wikipedia As A Source

For John, BLUFPapers?  I don't write no stinking papers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This article shows why students should not use Wikipedia as a source in a paper.

"Socially controversial science topics on Wikipedia draw edit wars".  The sub-headline is "The accuracy of what you see depends on whether people are happy about a topic."

I think using Wikipedia for a quick overview is good.  It is also a good source for looking for references to check out.  But, as the story shows, it is not a guaranteed reliable source.  Wikipedia "truth" can change from one minute to the next.

NATO has a good expression with regard to Doctrine, "It is authoritative but requires judgement in application".  I feel the same way about Wikipedia, except to add, don't cite it as an authoritative source in a paper—exploit it for all you can, including the footnotes, but don't cite it in your paper's footnotes or endnotes.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  AAP-6(V) NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions.

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