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Wikipedia and undergraduate research trajectories

Descriptive

TypeOfResource
Text
TitleInfo
Title
Wikipedia and undergraduate research trajectories
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Todorinova
NamePart (type = given)
Lily
Affiliation
Rsrch & Instruct Svc-Libraries, Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = marcrt); (type = text)
author
Name (authority = RutgersOrg-School); (type = corporate)
NamePart
Rutgers University Libraries
Genre (authority = RULIB-FS)
Article, Refereed
Genre (authority = NISO JAV)
Accepted Manuscript (AM)
Note (type = peerReview)
Peer reviewed
OriginInfo
DateCreated (encoding = w3cdtf); (keyDate = yes); (qualifier = exact)
2015
Publisher
Emerald
Abstract (type = Abstract)
Purpose

This study analyses undergraduate students’ use of Wikipedia bibliographies. The study has implications for Wikipedia as a “discovery tool” of library collections, library instructional practices, and understanding the complex ecology of students’ research processes.

Design/methodology/approach

30 undergraduate students were recruited from introductory English writing classes. A controlled survey was conducted in Qualtrics®, including the following sections: 1) pre and post test of students’ understanding of authority/quality of sources, 2) tasks analyzing participants’ choices for further research after reading a Wikipedia article, and 3) students’ determination of the authority/quality of sources in Wikipedia reference pages, using an adapted version of the Turnitin® Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER).

Findings
The investigator found that students were unlikely to follow references they found in bibliographies of Wikipedia pages. This was expressed most clearly in their comments, which revealed that Wikipedia’s reference sections are found to be too overwhelming and numerous. These entries are depicted by order of appearance in the text and are not ranked, or presented in an order students considered useful. Participants were not likely use Wikipedia as a discovery tool of library content because they perceived Wikipedia as being markedly different, even in opposition to, library resources. Students disclosed being warned by their faculty and instructors not to use the online encyclopedia at all in their research process. However, paradoxically, after reading a Wikipedia article, students were most likely to go to Google, or revisit Wikipedia, for more information, as opposed to using the library. Study participants reported that “ease of access” is the most important consideration when choosing sources to include in research papers, followed by the actual authority/quality of these sources. Students also greatly benefited from having a structured rubric available at the point of their research process when they are asked to determine the authority/quality of sources, and especially within Wikipedia bibliographies.

Practical Implications

The findings of the study offer suggestions for both the design aspect of Wikipedia and the instructional methods of academic librarians. This study also informs library practices and emerging collaborations with Wikipedia, specifically the “Wikipedian in Residence” program and the concept of using Wikipedia as one type of a discovery tool.

Originality/Value

There is a lack of empirical evidence showing how or if students use Wikipedia bibliographies to continue their research. The possibility of the online encyclopedia as a discovery tool for library collections is relatively unknown and unexplored. The topic of collaboration between Wikipedia and libraries is new and emerging in the field.

Research Limitations
This is a small-scale study of students’ use of Wikipedia in one university campus, but its results can spark a discussion of the larger question of undergraduates’ research trajectories. The findings of the study suggest that these trajectories are extremely influenced by two conflicting issues: faculty influence and resource convenience. The researchers plan to extend the study to include faculty’s perceptions of the value of Wikipedia to undergraduate students’ research, including faculty’s own involvement as Wikipedia editors and contributors. Future research of undergraduate’s use of Wikipedia could benefit from a greater recruitment of participants across a diverse pool of academic institutions, as well as a mixed research method of observation, task analysis, and interviews.
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO 639-3:2007); (type = text)
English
PhysicalDescription
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
Extent
17 p.
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Wikipedia
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
College students
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Undergraduates
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Research--Data processing
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Research process
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Discovery
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Information literacy
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Wikipedian in residence
Extension
DescriptiveEvent
Type
Citation
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf)
2015
AssociatedObject
Name
New Library World
Type
Journal
Relationship
Has part
Detail
201-212
Identifier (type = volume and issue)
116(3/4)
Reference (type = url)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/NLW-07-2014-0086
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Todorinova, Lily
Identifier (type = local)
rucore30165300001
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T35B049S
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
Accepted Manuscript
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Rights

RightsDeclaration (AUTHORITY = FS); (ID = rulibRdec0004)
Copyright for scholarly resources published in RUcore is retained by the copyright holder. By virtue of its appearance in this open access medium, you are free to use this resource, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Other uses, such as reproduction or republication, may require the permission of the copyright holder.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
AssociatedObject
Type
License
Name
Sole author license v. 1
Detail
I hereby grant to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Rutgers) the non-exclusive right to retain, reproduce, and distribute the deposited work (Work) in whole or in part, in and from its electronic format, without fee. This agreement does not represent a transfer of copyright to Rutgers.Rutgers may make and keep more than one copy of the Work for purposes of security, backup, preservation, and access and may migrate the Work to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation and access in the future. Rutgers will not make any alteration, other than as allowed by this agreement, to the Work.I represent and warrant to Rutgers that the Work is my original work. I also represent that the Work does not, to the best of my knowledge, infringe or violate any rights of others.I further represent and warrant that I have obtained all necessary rights to permit Rutgers to reproduce and distribute the Work and that any third-party owned content is clearly identified and acknowledged within the Work.By granting this license, I acknowledge that I have read and agreed to the terms of this agreement and all related RUcore and Rutgers policies.
RightsHolder (type = corporate)
Name
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Role
Copyright holder
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Technical

RULTechMD (ID = TECHNICAL1)
ContentModel
Document
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