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Is Wikipedia accurate and reliable?
Much has been made of the nature of peer contributions to Wikipedia. Conventional wisdom is that widespread contribution without adequate credentialing of contributors will lead to poor accuracy and poor reliability of information. Some studies contradict the conventional wisdom; others confirm it.
Wikipedia entries often contain many references. The editors of the Wikipedia page have read those sources, summarized the content and added it to the Wikipedia entry. Is the Wikipedia editor able to understand the scholarly journal article they just read and summarized? Possibly yes and possibly no. But you can follow their reference and review the original study/book/article yourself!
Wikipedia should be used as a tool to get started, and should never be the only source of research.
Sample research on the accuracy of Wikipedia
Rector, L. H. (2008). Comparison of Wikipedia and other encyclopedias for accuracy, breadth, and depth in historical articles. Reference Services Review, 36(1), 7–22.
"The study did reveal inaccuracies in eight of the nine entries and exposed major flaws in at least two of the nine Wikipedia articles. Overall, Wikipedia’s accuracy rate was 80 percent compared with 95-96 percent accuracy within the other sources."
Rosenzweig, R. (2006). Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past. The Journal of American History, 93(1), 117–146.
"Wikipedia, then, beats Encarta but not American National Biography Online in overage and roughly matches Encarta in accuracy. This general conclusion is supported by studies comparing Wikipedia to other major encyclopedias. "
West, K., & Williamson, J. (2009). Wikipedia: friend or foe? Reference Services Review, 37(3), 260–271.
"The findings indicate that overall the [Wikipedia] articles are objective, clearly presented, reasonably accurate, and complete, although some are poorly written, contain unsubstantiated information, and/or provide shallow coverage of a topic."