Wikipedia for research instruction

Pencil tips“DON’T USE WIKIPEDIA IN YOUR PAPER!” We’ve all preached this to our students, parents, relatives, and anyone else who will listen. Especially when writing research papers and scholarly works. But what about using Wikipedia, to teach those very same skills?

Char Booth, librarian at the Claremont Colleges Library, did just that. She worked with colleagues, and faculty, to develop course work that had students creating content on Wikipedia. On her blog, Booth says, “The articles… were painstakingly crafted through multiple rounds of feedback in the most intensive and effective information literacy assignment I have ever had a hand in designing.” By writing Wikipedia articles themselves, students had to fight (or write) against those very same reasons we all use for NOT using Wikipedia. Booth continues: “The power of this process is the mind-bending leaps students must master to do it well, including “neutral” and non-argumentative writing, rigorous and impartial substantiation, coding, OA sourcing where and whenever possible, and group content creation.”

For more on the program, view the course page, or an article about it from the L.A. Times.

Image credit:, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0