A wiki (from the Hawaiian word for "quick") is a web-based environment for collaborative writing and editing a network of hyperlinked pages. Both the content and the structure of a wiki is produced by its users in the course of using the site
Use of wikis
Like many online resources, wikis can be created by anyone and made available online. Therefore, you need to evaluate the content and the quality of the wiki in order to assess how reliable the information it contains may be. Wikis can be edited and are editable by those with access rights (so, they maybe controlled). Wikipedia is an example of a wiki which can be edited by anyone.
What to look out for:
- Look at the ‘Discussion’ page if the article has one – have questions been raised about the validity?
- Consider the topic of the article – is it something that is currently controversial or under debate?
If so, consider whether the article contains bias.
- Does the writing read well?
- Is the topic clearly explained?
- Look at the ‘History’ section which forms part of every wiki – was the article recently created and when was it last edited?
- Is there evidence of argument over the content or constant revisions?
- Some wikis, such as Wikipedia, have templates at the top of the article – is the article tagged with a “clean-up” template?
If so, this means that at least one other wiki editor thought the article had problems and should not be relied upon in its current state.
Always do further research – you should not rely upon wikis (for example Wikipedia) as an authoritative source of information for your academic work. Most faculties do not recognise the academic validity of Wikipedia and would not expect to see it referenced.
Wikipedia, determining the quality of information
In this activity you will look at a wikipedia article and find out how to determine the quality of the information.
Average completion time: