Trust Wikipedia?

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Trust Wikipedia?

Postby Trader » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:29 am

In your experience, as we enter high level science fairs, especially the Intel ISEF, are using Wikipedia pages as part of our background research "frowned upon" by judges? Or even viewed with a little preference to avoid such pages?

Thanks =)
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Re: Trust Wikipedia?

Postby Terik Daly » Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:22 pm

Trader,

Yes, Wikipedia is not an appropriate reference source for a top competition like Intel ISEF. If you are planning on competing at that level, you are welcome to use a source like Wikipedia to get started, but your background research should focus on more serious works such as college and graduate - level textbooks and peer reviewed articles and review papers. At top competitions you are presenting work as if you were a professional scientists and a professional scientist would not cite Wikipedia as a reference source.
All the best,
Terik
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Re: Trust Wikipedia?

Postby Trader » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:55 pm

Cool! Thank you for clarifying --

So the "to get started" part will only consist of the brainstorming process and when I've come up with a research question I shall begin using the trusty sources. As for the "peer-reviewed" articles, I have yet to check in my library...but just in case I can't find any of those there (it isn't small, but my library sometimes known to be missing quite important things), we can find these scholarly journals online right? I'm thinking eLibrary for now...

For the brainstorming process, will we have to cite sources? I now feel a bit uncomfortable mentioning Wikipedia in my lab journal at all.

Thanks once again!! =)

*-- Edit. I was just adding another entry into the 'brainstorming' process of my science lab journal, but I'm wondering what makes a good entry? Here is what I usually write:

"Today I've read about the role of bacteria in environmental microbiology. It is very interesting -- maybe I can pursue something in this area. Going to research 'the process of biodegration', 'biotreatment'. The whole article is very confusing, but I think I'm at least getting somewhere"

I did check out the site's guide to what makes a good science notebook, and it said that it would be like a "Dear diary" for the science fair. Literally?

Thanks.
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Re: Trust Wikipedia?

Postby ChrisG » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:43 pm

Hi,
I just wanted to add my perspective - I often use Wikipedia as a source of basic information, sort of like asking a casual question to a colleague. As Terik said, you can't use that as a reference, but it can still be a good resource. If the Wikipedia article is decent, it will provide links to suitable references.
Some peer reviewed articles are available for free online, but most will require some payment for anything more than the abstract. You can go to a University library to get those articles, and/or you can contact the corresponding author of the article and ask them for a copy.
Good luck!
Chris
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Re: Trust Wikipedia?

Postby Terik Daly » Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:49 pm

Trader,

I think you are worrying too much about your lab notebook. It really is a place for you to record the amazing journey called your science fair project. Brainstorming, notetaking, thought process tracking, data recording, data analyzing, and all the other "-ings" of your project. The most important thing is that you record everything honestly and accurately.

Good luck!
All the best,
Terik
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Re: Trust Wikipedia?

Postby Trader » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:16 pm

Ahh, I guess I'm easily distracted with somethings =)

Thanks for the reminder ;)
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