Last modified on January 30, 2014, at 20:28

How today's college students use Wikipedia for course-related research

Publication (help)
How today's college students use Wikipedia for course-related research
Authors: Alison J. Head, Michael Eisenberg [edit item]
Citation: First Monday 15 (3): 15. 2010 March.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Yes
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How today's college students use Wikipedia for course-related research is a publication by Alison J. Head, Michael Eisenberg.


[edit] Abstract

Findings are reported from student focus groups and a large-scale survey about how and why students (enrolled at six different {U.S.} colleges) use Wikipedia during the course-related research process. A majority of respondents frequently used Wikipedia for background information, but less often than they used other common resources, such as course readings and Google. Architecture, engineering, and science majors were more likely to use Wikipedia for course-related research than respondents in other majors. The findings suggest Wikipedia is used in combination with other information resources. Wikipedia meets the needs of college students because it offers a mixture of coverage, currency, convenience, and comprehensibility in a world where credibility is less of a given or an expectation from today's students.

[edit] Research questions

"We investigated the use of Wikipedia for course–related research in five related areas:

1.How frequently college students use Wikipedia. 2.What motivates students to use Wikipedia. 3.At which stages of research students use Wikipedia. 4.How Wikipedia is used in relation to other information resources. 5.What predictors reveal which types of students are more and less likely to use Wikipedia."

Research details

Topics: Cross-domain student readership [edit item]
Domains: Education [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Survey responses [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Longitudinal [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Overall, we found:

1.Students’ driving need for background context makes Wikipedia one of the predictable workarounds that many students use, especially during the first stages of their research process.

2.Course–related research may begin with Wikipedia, but it rarely ends there. In our study, students employed a complex information problem strategy in their research processes, reliant on a mix of information resources that were from scholarly sources and public Internet sites.

3.In our study, we found the combination of coverage, currency, comprehensibility, and convenience drives Wikipedia use, in a world where credibility is less of a given — or an expectation from students — with each passing day.

4.Overall, college students use Wikipedia. But, they do so knowing its limitation. They use Wikipedia just as most of us do — because it is a quick way to get started and it has some, but not deep, credibility."

[edit] Comments

"" The combination of coverage, currency, comprehensibility, and convenience drives Wikipedia use, in a world where credibility is less of a given — or an expectation from students — with each passing day" Students use a combination of sources in their course-related research starting by WIkipedia and ending by scholarly sources."

[edit] References

Simson Garfinkel, 2008. “Wikipedia and the meaning of truth: Why the online encyclopedia’s epistemology should worry those who care about traditional notices of accuracy,” MIT Technology Review (November/December), at http://www.technologyreview.com/web/21558/, accessed 1 February 2009.

Alison J. Head, 2007. “Beyond Google: How do students conduct academic research?” First Monday, volume 12, number 8 (August), at http://firstmonday.org/article/view/1998/1873, accessed 16 December 2009.

Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, 2009. “Lessons learned: How college students seek information in the digital age,” Project Information Literacy Progress Report (December), at http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2009_Year1Report_12_2009.pdf, accessed 16 December 2009.

Jeff Howe, 2006. “Crowdsourcing: A definition,” Howe’s Crowdsourcing blog (June 2), at http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/cs/2006/06/crowdsourcing_a.html, accessed 17 December 2009.

Scott Jaschik, 2007. “A stand against Wikipedia,” Inside Higher Ed (January), at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/01/26/wiki, accessed 16 December 2009.

Eric Krangel, 2009. “Britannica’s doomed plan to take on Wikipedia,” Business Insider: Silicon Alley Insider (22 January), at http://www.businessinsider.com/2009/1/britannicas-doomed-plan-to-take-on-wikipedia, accessed 17 December 2009.

Sook Lim, 2009. “How and why do college students use Wikipedia?” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, volume 60, number 11 (November), pp. 2,189–2,202.

Peter J. Nicholson, 2006. “The changing role of intellectual authority,” ARL 247 (August), pp. 1–5, at http://www.arl.org/arldocs/resources/pubs/mmproceedings/148/nicholson.pdf, accessed 24 November 2009.

Lee Rainie and Bill Tancer, 2007. “36% of online American adults consult Wikipedia; It is particularly popular with the well–educated and current college–age students,” Pew Internet & American Life Project (April), at http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2007/Wikipedia-users.aspx?r=1, accessed 16 December 2009.

Soo Young Rieh and Brian Hilligoss, 2007. “College students credibility judgments in the information–seeking process,” In: Miriam J. Metzger and Andrew J. Flanagin (editors), 2007. Digital media, youth, and credibility. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, pp. 49–72.

Further notes[edit]