How Wikipedia is different from a college essay (from Wiki Education Foundation).



Throughout the semester, we have examined the sources of our biases and learned how to identify biases in others’ writing. We have considered the purposes for different types of writing and begun to learn how to use sources in an ethical and effective manner. This assignment asks writers to put those skills together to create a useful Wikipedia article. Although you don’t have to publish your article to Wikipedia to complete this project, you are welcome to do so!

How Wikipedia is different from a college essay (from Wiki Education Foundation)

A Wikipedia page is not an argumentative essay. The final draft of your page should be

  • Fact-based, not persuasive writing. Rather than making an argument, you will be writing a description of the information about a topic, cited to reliable sources.
  • Written with a formal tone and easy-to-understand language. Wikipedia isn’t the place for you to show off your extensive vocabulary. The audience of Wikipedia is global, and people who have never heard of the topic before will be reading what you are writing. You will need to clearly convey the basics of the topic in your writing.
  • Mostly paraphrased from sources, with no large block quotes. Wikipedia’s policies state that you should try to paraphrase whenever possible. Brief quotes from sources is fine, but you should try to provide the context in your own words and only quote the truly key phrase or two from the original.

Source Requirements

  • The purpose of your Wikipedia article is to share in-depth information with readers. You do not want to provide information that others can easily find on their own – say, from a different Wikipedia page. Instead, you will present information from expensive and hard-to-access sources usually blocked by paywalls. As a Northern Virginia Community College student, you can get to those sources through the NOVA library system.
  • Because the purpose of your article is to present in-depth, reliable information with your readers, your article must cite at least five reliable sources as defined on the Wikipedia page
  • Links to an external site.. Unless stated otherwise by your instructor, all sources should be obtained through the NOVA library system.
  • Note that Wikipedia uses a complicated system of hyperlinks and footnotes (a number in the sentence, along with information about the source corresponding to that number at the “foot” or bottom of the document to show readers where information has come from. Rather than learning a new method of citation for this single assignment, writers are asked to continue using MLA guidelines for citing sources. See the MLA module in the class for further information.