Mattebo, Robin (2013): Citation needed. The perceived credibility of Wikipedia among high education students. Master’s thesis. Uppsala University, Media and Communication Studies.
This thesis is called “Citation needed – the perceived credibility of Wikipedia among high education students”. The purpose of this thesis is to discover the opinions about the credibility of Wikipedia among high education students. The assumption is that students are aware of being source criticizing and do not directly cite Wikipedia in academic works.
The main research question is: what are the views of the perceived credibility of the information on Wikipedia among high education students?
The theoretical framework is made out of previous research specific related to Wikipedia but also theories around memory creation, assessment of sources and credibility.
The method used is qualitative, with semi-structured interviews. The material consists of interviews with nine participants. Their answers are transcribed and presented in themes and then analyzed.
The main results are that the perceived credibility of the information on Wikipedia among the students is that it is fairly credible and their views of the encyclopedia are that it is fast updated and neutral. They also believe that Wikipedia isn’t for academic usage so in all aspects the students do not make a thoroughly assessment of the encyclopedia’s credibility.
Further implications are that Wikipedia would be ruined if anyone tried to make it academic. Wikipedia fulfills an educational tool for the public even though it is not always correct. It is important to be reminded that Wikipedia contains errors but no other source is completely flawless either. In that sense it would be smarter to start a new encyclopedia, if there is such a need, perhaps open for professors only and would in the end only contain vetted information, however mostly/only in academic fields.