- Marju Himma-Kadakas, Maia Klaassen and Ebe Pilt
Affiliation or grant type
- University of Tartu
- Marju Himma-Kadakas, Maia Klaassen and Ebe Pilt
- Marju Himma-Kadakas: User:Himmam
- Wikipedia for Information Literacy
Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.
“Avoid citing Wikipedia in academic texts because the information may be faulty.” This is advice from a schoolteacher to a fifth grader in Estonia. While being a striking example, it is not the exception but standard advice from teachers and university faculty members. This advice diminishes the public value of Wikipedia. Any large-scale user-generated content may hold attempts to disseminate disinformation and malinformation. At the same time, academic research states that “Wikipedia has become and remains one of the few places on the internet dedicated to combating fake news“ (Jennings, 2008; McDowell and Vetter, 2020). Hence, Wikipedia’s contribution to the accessibility of information and raising evidence-based public awareness offers fertile grounds for improving information literacy.
This project aims to develop practical and widely applicable guidelines for users to personally validate Wikipedia articles to be used in academic and everyday use.
The study combines qualitative methods. We will conduct semi-structured interviews intertwined with the think-aloud method in which we expose respondents to various forms of Wikipedia content and ask them to discuss how they would check and verify the information they see.
Sample: The interviewees are Estonian teenagers (aged 12 to 16, N=10; we have parental consent for all respondents), university students (aged 19 to 25, N= 10), and over 50-year-old adults (N=10). This selection of respondents gives insight into the information verification skills and competencies of different generations whose media and information literacy level differs due to their everyday needs for information use.
Outcomes: The cross-case analysis of the interviews enables us to outline the information verification practices and shortcomings that Wikipedia users encounter. Based on these results, we will develop easy-to-use guidelines that empower people to verify the information to use Wikipedia as a source for academic and non-academic purposes. These guidelines will be produced in graphic and audio-visual forms (in English and Estonian). The academic outcome of the project will be a research article published in an international peer-reviewed scientific journal focusing on information literacy.
- Ivo Kruusamägi, user:Kruusamägi, Wikimedia consultant
Approximate amount requested in USD.
- 25,000 USD
Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).
The budget will cover additional salary payments of three research team members for ten months.
Wikimedia consultant will receive a one-time commission for his contribution.
As the project includes producing graphic and audio-visual materials and publishing the academic research article, 30% of the budget will be allocated for indirect costs (i.e., video production, article processing fees, and university overhead).
Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.
The project bridges knowledge and information gained in the Wikimedia project conducted in Estonian schools in 2011 (https://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikipeedia:Vikipeedia_koolides) and can be linked as additional material to what was developed for teachers.
The project will encourage different age groups to use Wikipedia though guiding and empowering people to assess the quality of the information. With easily usable guidelines, this project supports improving the Wikimedia user experience and increases safety and inclusion in exploring and using free knowledge.
The project highlights Wikipedia’s potential in combating fake news and encourages media literacy research communities to conduct further research on the topic.
Plans for dissemination.
The guidelines will be available on Wikipedia and YouTube. For dissemination, we will use the University of Tartu communication channels and newsletters for teachers (in cooperation with partner schools’ network of the university). The videos can be used in schools as supportive preparational material for school assignments. We have a partnership with Estonian Public Broadcaster’s science news portal Novaator which has agreed to publish the results and guidelines of the project.
Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.
The project will contribute to Wikimedia Estonia's activities on education (see Vikipeedia_koolides project).
The Baltic Engagement Centre for Combating Information Disorders has media and information literacy activities that could facilitate and support the dissemination of this project's results and practical guidelines.
The research team has well-established relations with several media literacy training organisations that will help to communicate the outcomes to stakeholders (e.g., teachers and youth trainers).
The academic research article from this project will make a relevant contribution to Maia Klaassen’s doctoral thesis, which studies the effect of media and information literacy activities.
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