Procrastinate yes! Wikipedia no!

ARS Technica reports on a study done at St. Mary's, a small liberal arts college in California and can be found in First Monday that shows Wikipedia and search engines such as Yahoo or Google are not the first place students look when starting a research project. Only 13% of students surveyed went to search engines and 3% went to Wikipedia first. This is compared to 40% who went to course materials for information and 23% who went to their library website first. Not surprisingly confusion and procrastination were cited as the top two things students first do for a research project.

Before you Wikipedia haters start celebrating, this is only one small college that attracts above average students. The article says instruction on proper research methods is still needed.

Research tools online and offline make for a harrowing research experience, according to a new study. While students are wary of Wikipedia and the like, there's also a clear need for resources like it.


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