Research:WikiHealth: A scoping review of Wikipedia in academic & health literature

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This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.
Please contact the project lead before formally citing or reusing results from this page.

This project is a first step in my research towards finding out how Wikipedia is included in the consumption of health information for decision-making. A scoping review of the academic health literature and the library and information sciences literature will be conducted to identify and analysis themes within this body of literature.


In an effort to retrieve all records within the scope of health and medicine, I generated a broad search strategy:

A title and abstract only keyword search for “Wikipedia” in each of the following databases:

  • OVID Medline
  • OVID Embase
  • Wilson Web
  • AMED

A single keyword search for “Wikipedia” in Web of Science followed by manual search to retrieve any content related to a health topic.

All records were exported to a free citation manager (Zotero) and imported into systematic review (SR) software (DistillerSR). Using the SR software, database records were screened first by title and abstract. A second round of review screened the full-text of all records.

Records were excluded if:

  • Wikipedia is not a major or exclusive focus of the article
  • Wikipedia is not discussed within the context of a health or medical topic
  • The article is not available in English (no funds are provided to support translation for this review)
  • The article is a letter, commentary, editorial, or popular media article

In some cases, a conference proceeding record and a published article record were retrieved for the same report. In these instances, I excluded the conference proceeding and retained the full-text article. Some articles did discuss Wikipedia’s health or medical content but were excluded because Wikipedia was not a major focus of the paper and the treatment of Wikipedia's health content was insufficient to merit inclusion.


May 2019

  • Construct and execute literature search strategy

June 2019

  • Title/Abstract Screen
  • Full-text Screen
  • Compose annotated bibliography of included studies

July 2019

  • Identify themes within the literature
  • Compose thematic analysis

August 2019

  • Compose first draft of Scoping Review manuscript
  • Apply for grant to cover Open Access Author Processing Charges

September-October 2019

  • Submit for publication to Open Access journal

Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research[edit]

This project will not disrupt the work of Wikipedians. No human subjects are involved in this study and therefore ethics review is not required.


Once your study completes, describe the results and their implications here. Don't forget to make status=complete above when you are done.