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Students are Completing Their Degrees Without Books Thanks to Wikipedia

28th May 2014 Posted by: Ruth Wood

In one of the least surprising stories of the year, more and more university students are ditching late-night library stints in favour of research via Wikipedia, according to a leading academic.

In an article for the Times Educational Supplement, Professor Orlando Figes from the University of London has said that students no longer see the point of "wasting time with books" when less exhaustive methods of research, via the likes of Google and Wikipedia, are readily available.

Figes believes that 'scanning' books has become more commonplace as a result of a learning culture based on examinations, where reciting facts and a simplified version of events can guarantee success in countries like the UK and USA. Figes said: "They are trained in the academic discipline of ‘using’ books (riffling through the index, reading introductions and conclusions, skim reading, or approaching them via book reviews) to construct an argument or engage with a scholarly controversy.”

While Wikipedia is an extraordinarily successful tool for quick and easy research amongst students, it's not known as the most reliable source of information. Figes added that the open-source nature of something like Wikipedia, where anyone can add or amend entries, leads to an "an alarming number of mistakes, misapprehensions and misleading statements."

Figes concluded by saying that more historians should make their books available on the internet, so students are able to access academically-certified information in an easier way.


Here's how you can use Wikipedia the right way.


Photography: Slideshow image by CCAC North Library


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