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Is Wikipedia reliable for making critical decisions? But how?

You are citing your sources, and there is no Wikipedia link. If you are a high school or college student you might have told by your teachers and professors making a statement like this. However, Wikipedia has earned a great reputation from the very inception, and it has now known to be the most credible source of information. Well, the question is how credible or how dependable Wikipedia is? For any information that you find in the article there how to figure if it’s well sought.

How Wikipedia addresses the reliability of the article

Wikipedia has itself taken into account this frequently asked question in many section even it has contributed articles on the website. Since many of the academic use page of Wikipedia states;

Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible secondary source for information about anything and everything, and as a quick “ready reference”, to get a sense of a concept or idea, though it’s not a credible source.” Academic Use Wikipedia

Further, the article on the “Reliability of Wikipedia” page also includes a great quantity of quotation from professionals and researchers claiming Wikipedia as an unreliable source of information that is precise more due to the reason that everyone has access to edit it and in some cases the editing is made by the bots.

The Guardian 2004 publication

“I would not use Wikipedia and never known even a single librarian who might; the main challenge is the absence of authority, since with any publications that are printed the publishers can ensure that their data is well sources as it’s the source of their living. However, with something like this everything goes under the hammer.” Philip Bradley Internet consultant

The good and featured articles of Wikipedia

Wikipedia takes into account that the good articles that are often indicated by the green plus inside the circle to the very right corner while the featured articles comply with the higher standards and have gone through more detailed editing process though the Wikipedia doesn’t claim that any of these articles can be cited for academic level research and it supports the reliability of both, stating that the featured articles are particularly trustworthy in comparison to normal and even good articles.

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The criticism towards Wikipedia

A huge criticism pressed flat against the authenticity comes from the individuals who have the extraordinary standards of information quality and are deeply invested in sourcing free information. Since they are not ordinary people searching to learn something new.

Another question with the reliability of Wikipedia is the problem of the reporting in circular means. Where Wikipedia articles are in the end indirectly citing their own sources. Let’s consider, if a news article takes up a junk of information as a fact, the wiki community editor will use the articles as a reference for Wikipedia, undervaluing the citation system. This often happens mistakenly though it’s quite common. To avoid certain mistakes and maintain the quality of the article many experts prefer to get a Wikipedia page service.

In spite of the censures, the articles on the reliability of the website do involve some researchers and professionals who claim that Wikipedia is good to have an initial journey but is not the end. Any means of information particularly any that aim to be all-inclusive as Wikipedia- still can be erroneous. Even the academic journal might have errors, though it doesn’t disqualify the whole journal.

Understanding the consensus of the studies proving Wikipedia accuracy

The studies conducted by the German magazine evaluated the accuracy of Wikipedia articles comparing it with the information displayed in the research publications, and the outcomes showed the accuracy of 99.7% making it precise as the standard of the research publication.

Though it was also revealed that a number of articles were 83% complete as compared to the journals so I Wikipedia articles are accurate they may also miss some information. Another study found that experts declare the articles credible, even when they found some factual mistakes in a handful of articles.

As per the abstract

The difference was in the credibility of the article, the experts found Wikipedia articles to be credible than the non-experts. So this suggests that the preciseness of Wikipedia is relatively higher. Though the results might not be observed as the standing for Wikipedia as being the completely reliable source for 10% of the articles are erroneous”

Wrapping it up

Considering the overview of research, suggestion and common concepts, in general, Wikipedia is quite reliable as compared to the research journal even if not complete. Though many are highly strict against using the encyclopedia for research, however, to kick start it can be a quick fact check.

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