M6D1: Disseminating Knowledge and Fact-checking on Wikipedia
Introduction to the Activity:
In module 5 you learned how careful scrutiny and constructive criticism are an integral part of the scientific process and how publication of a research paper in a peer-reviewed journal is just one of many steps in the process of scientific inquiry. You were asked to critique a peer-reviewed scientific research article because scrutinizing the ideas and work of other scientists is an important communication skill for students to learn since it is a critical step in the process of scientific inquiry. Another important stage in the process of science is disseminating scientific findings to the general public.
In this activity you use your newfound knowledge—gained while preparing your literature review—to contribute to and clean up the Wikipedia article most closely related to the topic of your term paper. Find and read a Wikipedia article that is most closely related to your selected topic to get an overview of the information provided. Then, read it again, but this time with a critical eye. Analyze the information provided, correct any errors, and contribute new information that strengthens the article. Keep the following questions in mind as you consider how to improve the Wikipedia article:
•How can you further advance the topic of the original article?
•What assumptions have the contributors made?
•Are these assumptions justifiable? Why or why not?
•Are there errors in the scientific or factual information included in the article?
•What changes would you make to the description of the topic?
•To what degree is the supporting information accurate, clear, and relevant to the topic?
•How many of the statements needing citations can you fix by providing supporting references?
•How could the research articles that you reviewed be incorporated into the article?
•What scientific theories and concepts support the reasoning of the article?
•What are the implications and consequences of the topic?
Instructions to Learners:
Use the knowledge gained form conducting your literature review to correct and contribute to a Wikipedia article most closely related to your term paper topic. Conduct an analysis of the selected article, providing your qualified opinion on its merits and shortcomings. Your contribution must be at least 200 words and include at least 3 corrections, including adding needed citations.
Begin this activity by reading this brief editorial (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. published in the premier journal Nature. The article encourages experts and other people knowledgeable in any field to contribute to and improve Wikipedia. Next, read Wikipedia’s Editing Tutorial (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. page to learn how to edit Wikipedia pages.