WikiConference India 2011/Submissions/A comparative study of Wikipedia usage patterns among urban and semi- urban college students

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08:02, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Title of the submission

a comparative study of Wikipedia usage patterns among urban and semi-rural college students

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, or presentation)

A presentation

Author of the submission

Ajit Gagare

E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)

State of your origin (Country, if you are not based in India)

India, Maharashtra State

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

PhD Student, Department of Communication Studies, University of Pune, Pin 411007

Personal homepage or blog


Abstract (maximum 500 words)

A comparative study of Wikipedia usage patterns among urban and semi-urban college students

Wikipedia is an Internet-based, collaboratively edited encyclopedia that has risen since 2003 to become the fifth most visited Web site in the world (Comscore, 2009). With over 3 million English language articles, it has become an indispensable part of the Internet as a broad-based reference. Wikipedia is now slowly gaining attention of student and teaching fraternity in India, in Indian urban settings the phenomenon is common but the semi rural settings have a lot of catching up to do. In western context much of the academic debate turns on issues about Wikipedia’s reliability, totality , precision, and intellectual rigor and whether the college students should or should not use it as reference, but the case in India is different. No doubt, the issue of reliability is equally applicable to Indian setting as well but more than that, there are more fundamental issues about ‘Reach’ of Wikipedia and ‘Digital Divide’ that restricts people from being a user. The usage of internet in general and Wikipedia in particular, still has not become integral part of teaching-learning environment in India. The process has just started and it could only be complete if hurdles like, institutional and psychological inflexibility, lack of awareness, limitations of technological provision (like the Internet penetration in country is still very low 8.41%, Indian Statistics Report, April 2011) are overcome. Against this backdrop, this paper wants to study how students from urban and semi urban settings perceive Wikipedia as a medium of learning and what are the factors that limits students to use this encyclopedia. Through this paper, researcher wants to look at graduate level student’s Wikipedia usage patterns. These students will be from Arts, Commerce and Science disciplines. The sample comprise of graduate students because, unlike school and junior college level students, they do not have standard text books hence they look for additional information resources, in addition to that their curriculum demands higher intellectual involvement. Researcher is interested to understand the influence of type of discipline (arts, commerce and science) on the Wikipedia usage and to understand the usage patterns at broader level (if any)

Researcher wants to investigate the use of Wikipedia for course–related learning/research in four related areas: How frequently college students use Wikipedia, What motivates students to use Wikipedia, at which stages of research students use Wikipedia and How Wikipedia is used in relation to other information resources.

Triangulation approach would be applied for data collection. Researcher would collect both qualitative (intensive interviews, focus group discussion) and quantitative data (surveys) from 6 different college campuses (3 urban and 3 rural, from Maharashtra State)

KEY WORDS: Wikipedia, Internet as a medium of learning, Triangulation

Track (Community/Knowledge//Technology)


Will you attend Wikiconference if your submission is not accepted?

Yes I will

Slides or further information (optional)