Building academic literacy and research skills by contributing to Wikipedia: A case study at an Australian university

  • Julia Miller University of Adelaide
Keywords: Wikipedia, research skills, academic literacy, referencing, academic writing

Abstract

Many lecturers are unhappy because their students refer to Wikipedia in their academic assignments. Rather than despairing, however, it is possible to use Wikipedia as an incentive to improve students’ writing and research skills. The following case study used an established Research Skills Development framework combined with a Personal Development Plan to assess the improvement in research and academic literacy skills which students attributed to an assignment in which they wrote entries for potential uploading to Wikipedia. The participants (n=11) were students enrolled in a semester-long academic literacy course in a preparatory program for study at an Australian university. Scaffolding was provided by the lecturer at all stages of the assignment, including help with database searching, referencing and academic writing style. Although the sample size was small, quantitative data showed an educationally statistical improvement in the students’ research skills, while qualitative comments revealed that despite some technical difficulties in using the Wikipedia site, many students valued the opportunity to write for a ‘real’ audience and not just for a lecturer.

Author Biography

Julia Miller, University of Adelaide

Lecturer

School of Education

Published
2014-06-13
How to Cite
Miller, J. (2014). Building academic literacy and research skills by contributing to Wikipedia: A case study at an Australian university. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 8(2), A72-A86. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/319
Section
Research Articles