To What Extent Is Wikipedia Beneficial for Students’ Research

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In recent years, a growing number of students have started to use Wikipedia - the free and online peer–produced encyclopaedia that anyone can edit - as one of the internet sources for their academic research. For instance, According Judd (2010, cited in a Rainie and Tancer, 2007:1), a survey found that 44% of online adult users aged 18-29 and 50% of adults with a university degree use Wikipedia. This essay will argue that Wikipedia offers an opportunity for students to easily research and collect general information and it will also provide relevant sources as references. However, with Wikipedia constantly changing and lacking the moderate equivalence of intellectual authority, the value of this online encyclopaedia for university-level research still should be cautiously and critically approached. To this extent, the benefits of Wikipedia for university students are limited. The first part of this essay will focus on the fact that Wikipedia can be effective for students in today’s ever-changing online environment. Then it will move on to the fact that students are occasionally blind in accepting information which is produced by unknown background authors, and thus potentially need to take more notice of the drawbacks of Wikipedia (Chandler and Gregory, 2010a:2). Lastly, the conclusion will assert that traditional academic resources might be time-consuming but more valuable and be able to withstand scrutiny compared with Wikipedia. First of all, an online encyclopaedia provides clear benefits, such as ease of access compared with traditional sources, and a very high update speed, with regards to new and changing information. At first, Wikipedia brings convenience to students without geographical, time, and situation restrictions. Time saving and efficiency become strength since they can search the subject easily through internet-capable phones or other
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