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Is Wikipedia a Good Source?

Use Wikipedia to find a subject on which you believe you have some level of expertise. You will read it critically and answer the following questions:

1.What sources are used on the entry? Check 2-3 of them. Are they reliable? How did you check their reliability?

2. Did you notice any missing information, or any information that was left un-cited or flagged as unreliable? Provide an example.

3. Did you notice any information that was surprisingly good? Was it cited? Provide an example.

4. Finally, end with a paragraph that summarizes your assessment of the Wikipedia entry based upon your expertise.

Solution Preview

I chose to research the Wikipedia page on triathlons ("Triathlons", 2012). The page boasts 43 references as sources of information. I checked several references to determine their validity. I clicked on the link in the reference section to look at the source material. The first source I tried, "Age Group Time Trial Swim Start" returned with the message "file not found". I then checked the link to "ITU Competition Rules" and discovered that the link was indeed working and valid. Curiosity encouraged me to check further, however, and I discovered that there have been annual updates to the rules since the Wikipedia entry had utilized this as a source. I am unclear as to the number of changes that have occurred in the rules in the last few years, however, changes have occurred. Since the International Triathlon Union is the international governing body of the sport, it would seem worthy to have the most up to date, complete information referenced in the entry. In other regards, however, the ITU is a trusted source, free of bias, and accepted as the arbitrator of triathlon rules and ...

Solution Summary

This detailed solution looks at Wikipedia as a source, and answers the validity of sources the site uses on a particular subject, as well as missing information, valid information, and an overall assessment of the source. APA references are included.