I am rereading Paul Levinson’s chapter about “wikipedia” since it is one of those discussion (argumentative) points I am faced with frequently.
The author brings up the question of whether this website has made traditional (valid) research using libraries obsolete. Levinson addresses the fact that books are often outdated in a very short time spam, making it difficult to replace continuously each publication. Nevertheless, I personally find it very enlightening when I am researching a topic to find older – outdated – editions which discuss the subject in a different light.
In other words, being able to compose a complete examination of the social context in which a matter may be a part is as valuable as the current understanding of the subject. The superficiality of Wikipedia (which Microsoft word apparently capitalizes...) is an aggravating quality I choose not to overlook.
One of the advantages defending this website, according to Levinson, is the level of criticism and modification implemented. It is not too difficult though, to include false and misleading information when given the opportunity.
Controlling information is a very powerful weapon, and it is difficult to transmit feedback on a topic, situation, or author etc. without the writing reflecting each person’s subjectivity.
I think that this specific website, based on its wide popularity especially among the college community, encourages students to lay back and forget what critical thinking might be about. Following an outline of events that may or may not be precise seems to satisfy most students’ quest for information.
Would it really take that much longer to visit a valid source of information such as ProQuest or Academic Search Premier?
What do you think?
Margaret Maria Roidi