Scholarly Articles vs. Wikipedia

Scholarly articles

  • Written by acknowledged experts and scholars in the field
  • Authorship is known and credentials are provided
  • Bibliography is always included
  • Database searching for articles can be cumbersome
  • Reviewed by a panel of peers
  • Methodology of research is explained
  • Based on original research or new applications of the research of others
  • Uses technical or discipline specific language
  • Published in a specialized journal
  • Does not change
  • Acknowledged authoritative source

Best uses: academic research, defending your thesis, supporting your opinion, bibliography references


  • Best free electronic encyclopedia
  • No one is paid to provide or monitor content
  • Almost anyone can author or edit
  • Articles can change at any time
  • Citations can be unreliable
  • “Vandalism” can be a problem
  • Quick to update
  • Problems of bias---people, businesses and political parties editing content about themselves or others
  • Easy to navigate
  • Mixed reviews from scholars on the quality of the content
  • Controversial resource

Best uses: discovery, choosing a research topic, finding links to similar or related topics, quick reference

Using Wikipedia for Academic Research (YouTube)