Mass collaboration or mass amateurism? A comparative study on the quality of scientific information produced using Wiki tools and concepts

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Mass collaboration or mass amateurism? A comparative study on the quality of scientific information produced using Wiki tools and concepts.
Authors: Fernando Rodrigues [edit item]
Citation: Universidade Évora  : . 2012 December.
Publication type: Thesis
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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DOI: Define doi.
Google Scholar cites: Not available
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Added by Wikilit team: No but verified
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Mass collaboration or mass amateurism? A comparative study on the quality of scientific information produced using Wiki tools and concepts. is a publication by Fernando Rodrigues.


[edit] Abstract

With this PhD dissertation, we intend to contribute to a better understanding of the Wiki phenomenon as a knowledge management system which aggregates private knowledge. We also wish to check to what extent information generated through anonymous and freely bestowed mass collaboration is reliable as opposed to the traditional approach.

In order to achieve that goal, we develop a comparative study between Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica with regard to accuracy, depth and detail of information in both, in order to confront the quality of the knowledge repository produced by them. That will allow us to reach a conclusion about the efficacy of the business models behind them.

We will use a representative random sample which is composed by the articles that are comprised in both encyclopedias. Each pair of articles was previously reformatted and then graded by an expert in its subject area. At the same time, we collected a small convenience sample which only integrates Management articles. Each pair of articles was graded by several experts in order to determine the uncertainty associated with having diverse gradings of the same article and apply it to the evaluations carried out by just one expert. The conclusion was that the average quality of the Wikipedia articles which were analysed was superior to its peers’ and that this difference was statistically significant.

An inquiry was conducted within the academia which certified that traditional information sources were used by a minority as the first approach to seeking information. This inquiry also made clear that reliance on these sources was considerably larger than reliance on information obtained through Wikipedia. This quality perception, as well as the diametrically opposed results of its evaluation through a blind test, reinforces the evaluating panel’s exemption.

However much the chosen sample is representative of the universe to be studied, results have depended on the evaluators’ personal opinion and chosen criteria. This means that the reproducibility of this study’s conclusions using a different grading panel cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, this is not enough of a reason to reject the study results obtained through more than five hundred evaluations. This thesis is thus an attempt to help clarifying this topic and contributing to a better perception of the quality of a tool which is daily used by millions of people, of the mass collaboration which feeds it and of the collaborative software that supports it.

[edit] Research questions

"This study intends to contribute to a better understanding of the Wiki phenomenon as a knowledge management system which aggregates private knowledge and check to what extent information generated through anonymous and freely bestowed mass collaboration is reliable as opposed to the traditional approach. To achieve that goal, we develop a comparative study between Wikipedia and Britannica Encyclopedias, in order to confront the quality of the knowledge repository produced by them. That will allow us to reach a conclusion about the efficacy of the business models behind them."

Research details

Topics: Reliability, Encyclopedias [edit item]
Domains: Computer science, Business, Information systems, Knowledge management [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "None specified by author." [edit item]
Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Documents, Survey responses, Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article, Website [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"In global terms the conclusion was that the average quality of the Wikipedia articles which were analyzed was superior to its peer’s and that this difference was statistically significant (90% of the Wikipedia articles have been considered as having equivalent or better quality than their Britannica counterparts).

However much the chosen sample is representative of the universe to be studied, results have depended on the evaluators’ personal opinion and chosen criteria. This means that the reproducibility of this study’s conclusions using a different grading panel cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, this is not enough of a reason to reject the study results obtained through more than five hundred evaluations.

One explanation for the success of Wikipedia can be found in the altruism of individuals who come together around themes they share the same passion for, and it is expected they have remarkable knowledge on these. In other words, in the case studied, mass collaboration seems self-organized, leading to an organization of self-assessment and self-correction among peers which produces impressive results, against all odds."

[edit] Comments

"Synopsis"


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Mass collaboration or mass amateurism? A comparative study on the quality of scientific information produced using Wiki tools and concepts"RDF feed
AbstractWith this PhD dissertation, we intend to cWith this PhD dissertation, we intend to contribute to a better understanding of the Wiki phenomenon as a knowledge management system which aggregates private knowledge. We also wish to check to what extent information generated through anonymous and freely bestowed mass collaboration is reliable as opposed to the traditional approach.

In order to achieve that goal, we develop a comparative study between Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica with regard to accuracy, depth and detail of information in both, in order to confront the quality of the knowledge repository produced by them. That will allow us to reach a conclusion about the efficacy of the business models behind them.

We will use a representative random sample which is composed by the articles that are comprised in both encyclopedias. Each pair of articles was previously reformatted and then graded by an expert in its subject area. At the same time, we collected a small convenience sample which only integrates Management articles. Each pair of articles was graded by several experts in order to determine the uncertainty associated with having diverse gradings of the same article and apply it to the evaluations carried out by just one expert. The conclusion was that the average quality of the Wikipedia articles which were analysed was superior to its peers’ and that this difference was statistically significant.

An inquiry was conducted within the academia which certified that traditional information sources were used by a minority as the first approach to seeking information. This inquiry also made clear that reliance on these sources was considerably larger than reliance on information obtained through Wikipedia. This quality perception, as well as the diametrically opposed results of its evaluation through a blind test, reinforces the evaluating panel’s exemption.

However much the chosen sample is representative of the universe to be studied, results have depended on the evaluators’ personal opinion and chosen criteria. This means that the reproducibility of this study’s conclusions using a different grading panel cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, this is not enough of a reason to reject the study results obtained through more than five hundred evaluations.

This thesis is thus an attempt to help clarifying this topic and contributing to a better perception of the quality of a tool which is daily used by millions of people, of the mass collaboration which feeds it and of the collaborative software that supports it.
e collaborative software that supports it.
Added by wikilit teamNo but verified +
Collected data time dimensionCross-sectional +
CommentsSynopsis
ConclusionIn global terms the conclusion was that thIn global terms the conclusion was that the average quality of the Wikipedia articles which were analyzed was superior to its peer’s and that this difference was statistically significant (90% of the Wikipedia articles have been considered as having equivalent or better quality than their Britannica counterparts).

However much the chosen sample is representative of the universe to be studied, results have depended on the evaluators’ personal opinion and chosen criteria. This means that the reproducibility of this study’s conclusions using a different grading panel cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, this is not enough of a reason to reject the study results obtained through more than five hundred evaluations.

One explanation for the success of Wikipedia can be found in the altruism of individuals who come together around themes they share the same passion for, and it is expected they have remarkable knowledge on these. In other words, in the case studied, mass collaboration seems self-organized, leading to an organization of self-assessment and self-correction among peers which produces impressive results, against all odds.
uces impressive results, against all odds.
Data sourceDocuments +, Survey responses + and Wikipedia pages +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Mass%2Bcollaboration%2Bor%2Bmass%2Bamateurism%3F%2BA%2Bcomparative%2Bstudy%2Bon%2Bthe%2Bquality%2Bof%2Bscientific%2Binformation%2Bproduced%2Busing%2BWiki%2Btools%2Band%2Bconcepts.%22 +
Has authorFernando Rodrigues +
Has domainComputer science +, Business +, Information systems + and Knowledge management +
Has topicReliability + and Encyclopedias +
MonthDecember +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeThesis +
Published inUniversidade Évora +
Research designStatistical analysis +
Research questionsThis study intends to contribute to a bettThis study intends to contribute to a better understanding of the Wiki phenomenon as a knowledge management system which aggregates private knowledge and check to what extent information generated through anonymous and freely bestowed mass collaboration is reliable as opposed to the traditional approach. To achieve that goal, we develop a comparative study between Wikipedia and Britannica Encyclopedias, in order to confront the quality of the knowledge repository produced by them. That will allow us to reach a conclusion about the efficacy of the business models behind them.ficacy of the business models behind them.
Revid10,864 +
TheoriesNone specified by author.
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitleMass collaboration or mass amateurism? A comparative study on the quality of scientific information produced using Wiki tools and concepts.
Unit of analysisArticle + and Website +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionLive Wikipedia +
Wikipedia languageEnglish +
Wikipedia page typeArticle +
Year2012 +