Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica on science

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4530930.stm

    Great news, but I wish they could have published this last week when I was writing an analysis on the validity of my Wikipedia references for my coursework :grumpy:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. mezarashi

    mezarashi 660
    Homework Helper

    The problem with citing Wikipedia is that well... *anybody* can edit it. It's hard to blame if for some reason it goes wrong and you can't keep track of changes. Britannica 2004 will always be the 2004 version. Most Wiki authors will include sources/references they have written from, and most of the time you can cite those, so look for them!
     
  4. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 29,980
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    Please read this thread:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=103804

    If possible, read the source of this report, i.e. the one published in Nature.

    Besides, how many serious scientific research work do you see that actually made citations to sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica, or Wikipedia anyway? You could do an analysis on that angle since the statistics quoted in Nature says that only barely 17% of the authors of nature actually use Wikipedia regularly.

    Zz.
     
  5. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    It best to corroborate with alternative and independent sources, like PF! :wink:

    Seriously, I always prefer to cross reference.

    On-line Encyclopedias and Wikipedia are good 'starting' points, however, it is best to go to other sources for confirmation.
     
  6. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,529
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    I agree. It's a little flakey but it has worked pretty well for me, thus far. In fact, for those familiar with the "What Was It" thread - an exercise in internet sleuthing - I found obscure information at Wikipedia that was verified but only after a good deal of work on my part. It stands to reason that the internet can help to catalog an untold number of little facts and tidbits from history that might otherwise be lost. But filtering is a problem...as it always has been.
     
  7. If you're looking basic info, then Wikipedia is a good starting point. But if you're doing in-depth research and you'd like to know more you can also check out the links cited under each article, which points you to another and another, until you find another that interests you..

    I believe Wikipedia imposed a much stricter guideline when it comes to posting/editing an article. They require you to create an account, most articles there are watched very closely for any errors/inconsistencies/what have you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2005
  8. matthyaouw

    matthyaouw 1,216
    Gold Member

    I miss that thread! :cry:
     
  9. honestrosewater

    honestrosewater 2,329
    Gold Member

    Me too. :frown: (Though I'm not gonna cry about it.) (Yet.)
     
  10. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    "Internet a great tool, but use it with caution," by Jay Ambrose

    Specifically Wikipedia.

    It would appear that the technical/scientific articles are accurate, or mostly so, however articles in the humanities may be more subjective.

    http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/editorial/13430582.htm

     
  11. Astro that article is a bit overboard don't you think?
    From everything that I have read on and about Wikipedia they try very hard to keep their articles factually accurate and clean up edit abuse. They even discuss the entries and I have several times found them telling each other they need to be less biased and stick to the facts.
     
  12. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 29,980
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    http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_3444567

    .... as if one needs any more convincing that the accuracy of any entry in Wikipedia can be questionable. If one relies SOLELY on this source (look around PF and you can already tell how many do), then one deserves what one gets.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2006
  13. hypnagogue

    hypnagogue 2,265
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