Wikipedia in Academic Work


Wikipedia, being an unreliable and invalid source of academic and scholarly research, can be a positive and a negative in the public sphere. Since the site is easily edited to state whatever the author chooses, how does this marginalize the manner in which this, or other, sites can be utilized for source material? In what way should a researcher go about gathering information for an academic work? Why is it imperative that source material for academic writing be verifiably reliable and valid?

Wikipedia is a website that bears a variety of information posted by different people. It has become an unreliable and invalid source of academic and scholarly research because there is no validity or standard measures to ensuring that the information in the Wikipedia valid and from the trusted sources. It, therefore, becomes hard to separate the truth from the falsehood as Wikipedia bears distortions, lies and making it hard to identify the correct information (Levinson, 2013).

However, Wikipedia can be attributed to some positive and negative applications in the public sphere. From the Areopagetica by Milton (1644), we can argue out that, truth and falsity must be allowed to confront because the truth will always prevail (Levinson, 2013). On the same point, it is locatable than many educational websites. The problem is, it does not guarantee empirical grounds to be used in research and thus, the negative side comes because one can support their argument from Wikipedia content because the sources are untrusted. A researcher gathering information for an academic work should seek the sources that are transparent, reviewed by some scholars and the updated information.

Response 1

It is now clear to me that Wikipedia is an unreliable and invalid source that I should avoid using when doing my scholarly research. Wikipedia provides the most comprehensive scope of information that is very public. The editors and managers do not have a recommendable base that I can lay my argument in the research literature. However, I have come to appreciate the freedom that Wikipedia offers to the scholars to access the information quickly and at no cost as some articles and books demands.

Response 2

Wikipedia is alleged to have wrong information. The argument has been affirmed by the wrongly reported deaths of people such as Tim Russet, Ted Kennedy, and Robert Byrd. It will be a total loss if the wrong information is applied in the research because a single false argument bearing the wrong reference would invalidate the whole work (Levinson, 2013).  The offered freedom for editing Wikipedia content has been violated, and therefore, it has been banned for use in many Institutions such as in the United Kingdom and the USA. However, one can still open the source from Wikipedia and retrieve the information on its pages from the affiliate links of valid resources for academic writing and research.


Wikipedia lacks transparency like other journals, blogs or peer-reviewed articles. An academic source should be reliable, verifiable and valid so that the information presented is unquestionable, proven and empirically affirmed. Academic writers as well as researchers should ensure validity and consistence of their data and information from reliable sources which cannot mislead easily (Bould et al., 2014).


Bould, M. D., Hladkowicz, E. S., Pigford, A. E., Ufholz, L., Postonogova, T., Shin, E., & Boet, S. (2014). References that anyone can edit: review of Wikipedia citations in peer reviewed health science literature. BMJ, 348(mar05 4), g1585-g1585. doi:10.1136/bmj.g1585

Levinson, P., (2013) New media, (2nd Edition), Pearson.

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