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Using Wikipedia for your Scholarship Essay Writing Research

The famous online, user-edited encyclopedia was launched in 2001, and have been considered a source of information for scholars and online information searchers. Most students and scholarship applicants tend to use this source for their school works and essay writing respectively.

According to a study by First Monday, an online peer-reviewed journal, which examined how prevalent the site has become on college campuses in particular, and how students have begun to rely on Wikipedia as a resource, more than half of all respondents use Wikipedia frequently or always for course-related research. Students in architecture, engineering, or the sciences were more likely to use the site in their courses than other majors. The study surveyed 2,318 students, and took qualitative data from 86 of those students who participated in focus groups.

Other major findings of the study include the following:
Most students said they used Wikipedia for a summary about a topic (82%), the meaning of related terms (67%), and to get started on research (76%).
About 52% of the respondents were frequent Wikipedia users, even if the Lecturer advised against it.
Only 22% reported that they rarely, if ever, used Wikipedia.
About 17% used Wikipedia because they thought it was more credible than other sites.
Only about 2% used Wikipedia toward the end of their research process.

Those enrolled in two-year campuses were less likely than those in four-year institutions to report that they used Wikipedia.

What then is the point?

Whether you’re writing a college essay or applying for an essay scholarship, when it comes to citing Wikipedia as a reference, the right move is to either do is it appropriately or resist the temptation. While the site can be an excellent tool for you to kick off or round off your research, as the study above suggests, it simply isn’t reliable enough to be taken seriously by some scholars and researchers. Anyone can add to and edit entries on the site (, so it’s always best to do some fact-checking after you get your Wikipedia summary prior to the start or the rest of your research. Anyone can edit articles on Wikipedia which makes it not as credible as your assume. It’s more about anybody writing on a subject and other people agreeing with them. Of course, you can use the site to kick-off or round-off your Scholarship Essay writing, but you shouldn’t rely on the informations you find on the site neither should you cite the site as your source of information without verifying the origin/source of the content.

Follow through to link sources, find out the individual, organization, company or institution responsible for the article and confirm their credibility/authority in your research field. This way, you know where the information is coming from. You have the entire web to yourself, so own it and use it like it’s all yours.

Note: Always try to verify every information you find on any website. 95% of the websites out here are not 100% reliable. Most are owned and published by normal everyday people just like you, this site included. Your Scholarship essay reviewers are smart people who may detect shortcuts and manipulation, and reward defaulters accordingly. So Give your scholarship application your best shot.
Have you been using Wikipedia as a source for your project work? What research strategies do you use for your Scholarship essay writing? Please share below.

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