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Credibility Analysis & Wikipedia Queries (Item 1 / Q1&2 Summary)

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

(Q1) Credibility is a crucial attribute when researching on the world-wide-web. Fogg (2003) describes credibility with a simple scenario example; first (1st) scenario is that you open the door to find cameras, a presenter with a big check claiming “You’ve won our sweepstakes “ The second (2nd) scenario is that you check the mail, and you get a letter claiming “You’ve won our sweepstakes “but they’ve spelled your name wrong and the signature on the bottom is not an original.

Figure 1: The Must-Have Guide To Helping Technophobic Educators (Source: Edudemic, 2012)

These example scenario’s can be applied to your ventures on the web, you must take into account that everyone has access to the world-wide-web, and that anyone can display a website or journal article, but the information could be completely incorrect. The word credibility as defined by Longley-Cook (1962) “was originally introduced into actuarial science as a measure of the credence that the actuary believes should be attached to a particular body of experience […] implying that the experience will will develop in the future may well be very different from that so far collected.”

It is vital to use credibility when researching over the world-wide-web, reasons is because, like described above, everyone has access to the web. The ways of detecting whether the research over the web is reliable is by the amount of reference information, for example; the author, title, date of publication, copyright statement, FAQ and more. Virginian Montecino’s (1998) article on ‘Helpful Hints to Help You Evaluate the Credibility of Web Resources’ states “Anyone, in theory, can publish on the Web; therefore, it is imperative for users of the Web to develop a critical eye to evaluate the credibility of Internet information.” One (1) example the article provides to help identify credibility within the research; “Is there any evidence that the author of the Web information has some authority in the field about which she or he is providing information?”.

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(Q2)“Why can’t we use Wikipedia as a credible resource?”

Figure 2: Wikipedia’s current logo. (Source: Wikipedia, 2012)

Wikipedia is a popular website which stores a large amount of information on pretty much everything. Clark (2007) sites Wikipedia as “An encyclopedia that anyone can edit” which is one of the most accurately sentenced descriptions for Wikipedia. Although the information may be accurate, and well reference at the bottom of the page, anyone can simply enter the page and edit vital bits of information that are completely incorrect. A writer at Learning Economics (2012) who’s a teacher, has expressed his thoughts on students citing Wikipedia as a reference; “When you cite something in your paper, it means that the information or idea you are presenting is not your own […] However, since anyone can edit Wikipedia, it is entirely possible that you created that post in Wikipedia to support your idea or topic.” In conclusion, Wikipedia is a website that should not be cited as a reference source, this statement is said by both expertise on credibility and teachers.

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Clark, D. (2007). What Is Wikipedia, and What Is It Good For?. Retrieved from http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/clark-d1.html

Fogg, B. J. (2003). Credibility and the World Wide Web. In Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do. (pp. 122-181).

FreeEconHelp. (2012). Learning Economics… Solved!. Why you should never cite Wikipedia in your papers! Tips for using Wikipedia in your research. Retrieved from http://www.freeeconhelp.com/2011/07/why-you-should-never-cite-wikipedia-in.html

Longley-Cook, L. H. (1962). Report. An Introduction to Credibility Theory. (pp. 194-221).

Virginian Montecino. (1998). Helpful Hints to Help You Evaluate the Credibility of Web Resources. Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources. Retrieved from http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm

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