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Argumentive Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By djess
Words 665
Pages 3
Essay Plan


Thesis: Wikipedia is not a creditable source of information for tertiary-level writing.

Paragraph 1: * Meaning of Wikipedia * Misleading readers * Vandalism * Reference Gorman

Paragraph 2:

* Academics publishing work * Editing * Reference Lu and Askin

Paragraph 3:

* Counter argument * Credibility * Reference Lu and Askin AND Crovitz and Smoot

Convenient but not accurate!

The purpose of this essay is to provide insight as to why Wikipedia is not a creditable source of information for tertiary-level writing. Tertiary-level writing involves the use of valid reference sources to show supporting evidence. Anyone can contribute anonymously and edit pages in the non-profit internet encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, automatically reducing the credibility of the popular website.

Wikipedia is known as the free encyclopaedia, an encyclopaedia in Gorman’s opinion (2007, p. 273) is ‘created by experts and monitored by professional editors who themselves are often subject experts’ and believes that Wikipedia should be recognised for what it is, ‘opinions untested by experts’. Wikipedia has a large amount of worldwide anonymous volunteers that monitor, and then clean up articles. Professionals may not want to give out their knowledge for free and therefore posts that are incorrect will never be corrected by the appropriate person. On the other hand, people who claim that they have a degree and specialise in a particular subject and post material on Wikipedia are subject to criticism and possible vandalism from anonymous people. The original author may be a professional in the field, but this doesn't stop a deluge of questions and disagreements.
Wikipedia is home to an extensive array of articles and characteristics consist of running a widely read, low cost and fast information website. This may seem appealing for academics to publish their work, however there are doubts and concerns about the sites credibility and impact in academia state Lu and Askin (2012, p. 359). Publishing work on the world’s largest encyclopaedia includes the risk of an anonymous person editing their article making the article null and void of any correct information therefore, if a tertiary-level student references that source, the student has a great possibility of being misled and consequently being marked down or possibly failing.

Some may dispute that Wikipedia is helpful with regards to reliability as inaccuracies can instantly be corrected, whereas errors in journal papers are slowly corrected, if at all. Lu & Askin (2012, p. 359) state that increasing the amount of anonymous contributors helps make the article more reliable, diverse opinions are introduced for discussion hence making the article less biased. However, Crovitz and Smoot (2009, p. 91) pose the question ‘how can a site that allows anyone to add, change, or remove information be credible?’ Wikipedia’s universal editorial access is its biggest flaw; there is no tool to prevent false postings, either through ignorance or intentionally posting misleading information. Wikipedia’s reliability is definitely questioned as a credible source of information.

In conclusion, while Wikipedia may be convenient, students need to source quality information and it is clear that Wikipedia is not a reliable source for tertiary-level writing due to the open based community edited site. Wikipedia should be used with caution and as a stepping stone into deeper research for tertiary-level writing.

Reference Listing

Gorman, G.E. 2007, "A tale of information ethics and encyclopædias; or, is Wikipedia just another internet scam?", Online Information Review, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 273-273. <>

Lu, X. & Askin, N. 2012, "Wikipedia for academic publishing: advantages and challenges", Online Information Review, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 359-373. <>

Crovitz, D. & Smoot, W, S. 2009, “Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe”, English Journal, vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 91-97. <>

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