Humanities : Credibility of Wikipedia as a source of information Discussion

For this Reader's log, you will need to read “Thinking Critically” Wikipedia! OMG! (the paragraph is at the bottom of this question). You will need to complete activities 1 and 2 in the second paragraph.

Choose a topic for which you believe you have some level of expertise. Use Wikipedia to find an article on a subject. You will read the article critically and answer the following questions:

  • What sources are used on the entry? Check 2-3 of them. Are they reliable? How did you check their reliability? This is where you would include your response for activities 1 and 2 from your textbook.
  • Did you notice any missing information, or any information that was left uncited or flagged as unreliable? Provide an example.
  • Did you notice any information that was surprisingly good? Was it cited? Provide an example.
  • Finally, end with a paragraph that summarizes your assessment of the Wikipedia entry based upon your expertise.

Your work will be scored by the following criteria:

Criteria

Max. Points available

Content:In shaping his/her response, the

student matches the criteria of the assignment: a Wikipedia article,

reliability and validity of sources, quality information, and a summary.

20

Grammar/Mechanics:The assignment has been proofread and spellchecked prior to submission. There are no errors that impede comprehension.

5

Total Possible Points

25

=========================================================================================

Wikipedia OMG!
The bitter irony of citing Wikipedia in a discussion about the trustworthiness of sources screams out. Why should we trust Wikipedia, you may well wonder. Wikipedia is not a source;its a vehicle. Anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry. How can know if what it says is actually true? It might be plagiarized, it might be wrong in some important but subtle ways. Hey, it might be outright fiction! In fact, that's the same problem we have for everything we see on the internet or in print: Who wrote that, and can we trust that person (or that government agency, corporation, or organization)? These days there is so much untruth, disinformation, misdirection, propaganda, and outright deceit on the internet that we dare not believe it simply because we see it in Wikipedia or anywhere else on the internet or in a tweet, text message, or TV infomercial.

Your challenge in this exercise is to fact-check the Wikipedia entry for "expertise" for its accuracy. We suggest you use 2 different ways to do this:

(1)Go to the entry itself and see if you can tell who wrote it and what references it uses. Fact-check those references and Google the authors using "Google Scholars" to see if they are credible authorities on the topic of expertise.

(2)Seek independent confirmation by looking up "expertise" in other, more trusted sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and books on expertise.



Answers

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