Research:The role of citations in promoting trust and learning among readers
As part of an ongoing effort to assess and improve the integrity of the knowledge captured in Wikimedia projects, this project will involve research into how Wikipedia readers use the citations (or references) to external information resources in order to achieve learning goals—i.e. the ostensible reason that they have chosen to read a Wikipedia article in the first place.
Previous research suggests that citations can help readers achieve their learning goals in at least two ways: by providing them with evidence that the information about a particular topic on Wikipedia is trustworthy, and by providing them with signposts to additional information resources about that topic.
Additional information about the role that citations play in readers' experience of Wikipedia can help Wikimedia contributors focus and prioritize their sourcing efforts and Wikimedia Foundation Product teams build improved features and functionality to support readers’ learning goals and their digital literacy.
This study will involve a review of existing academic literature related to reader perceptions of the trustworthiness of Wikipedia content and the ways that readers use Wikipedia content to learn in both formal and informal learning contexts. Additional research methods may also be employed, such as interviews, surveys, and experiments (e.g. user tests of different mechanisms for presenting citation information within articles).
Related project pages
- Towards Modeling Citation Quality
- Characterizing Wikipedia Reader Behavior
- Characterizing Wikipedia Citation Usage
- Student use of free online information resources