As a college student, I have been taught not to use Wikipedia as a direct source for information when researching a historical topic. Due to the website’s ability to let anyone add or edit information in its articles, it may not be the most reliable source for information. Though Wikipedia may not the best website to use for a research paper, I have found it quite useful for getting a grasp on historical topics before conducting harder research. For instance, I found Wikipedia to be a good website to get a grasp on the 1991 Gulf War.
I found the article on the Gulf War very informative. Because of the many prior events that would lead up this war, the article gave a thorough background on the war, along with detailed summaries on the Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the creation of coalition forces, and some of the battles that were fought there. The article explained the casualties, media coverage, and the controversies of the war. It also contained photo, detailed maps, and a long list of bibliographic sources that may be useful for further research (many were recent sources, though I was surprised there were not many from the 1990s).
But as informative as the article was, there were some things that challenged the reliability of the article. For example, Wikipedia pointed out where there were sections with sources that were not clearly defined, such as the sections about the Iraqi missile launches and the ground campaigns. And though the article as a large bibliography, I did not find the article’s external links to be very trustworthy, as I expected for there to be more links to ~.edu and ~.org sites on the War.
Though Wikipedia has a lot of information on a variety of historical topics, I still do not think it is good to use information from it directly. Because of the ability to change articles freely and, as described for the Gulf War article, the questionable sources and external links, Wikipedia may not be the most reliable source to use for a research paper, but it is good to use it to learn the basics of a topic.
2 Responses to “Reviewing the Reliabilty of a Wiki Article”