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Nurse Educ Today. 2011 Feb;31(2):135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2010.05.004. Epub 2010 Jun 20.

Wikipedia as an evidence source for nursing and healthcare students.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, M13 0JA, UK. c.haigh@mmu.ac.uk

Abstract

Where students once were confined to the University library, they are now at liberty to wander through cyber-space at will. There is evidence to suggest that student have been very quick to exploit the opportunities that the Internet can offer them. Students frequently cited search engines such as Google and Web 2.0 information sharing sites such as Wikipedia as the first places they look when seeking information for an assignment. Although a number of disciplines have accepted that Wikipedia can be viewed as an accurate and legitimate evidence source nurse educators tend to view Wikipedia with a degree of suspicion. The purpose of this paper is to carry out an exploratory study of health and health related content on a sample of Wikipedia site with the overall intention of assessing the quality of their source and supporting information. A 10% sample of health related Wikipedia entries were evaluated, with a total of 2598 references assessed. In total 1473 (56%) of the references citied on the Wikipedia pages reviewed could be argued to come from clearly identifiable reputable sources. This translates to a mean number of reputable sources of M=29 per Wikipedia entry. The quality of the evidence taken obtained from the 2500 plus references from over 50 Wikipedia pages was of sufficiently sound quality to suggest that, for health related entries, Wikipedia is appropriate for use by nursing students.

PMID:
20646799
DOI:
10.1016/j.nedt.2010.05.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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