Most writers can improve their academic texts by re-examining the audience that the academic writing style usually presumes. This benefit can be especially useful for those new to this complex process (or newly-returned to it).
While many other useful tools and reflections can help you make use of the concept of the audience at many various stages, this blog article specifically focuses on how the debate about citing Wikipedia articles reveals more than a few key goals for academic writing. Generally, citations enable readers to further explore the sources that contributed to the research. Citations of Wikipedia, in many academic writers’ minds, specifically violate a handful of best practices in our academic writing processes.
All that being said, feel free to use Wikipedia as a tertiary research tool. Use it for quick reminders. Use it when on the go. Use it to explore connected topics between individual article readings.I personally hope that many, many professional academic writers continue to engage with the wikis and sub-wikis in their field, offering improvements as they see fit. Then, somewhat like its bigger siblings the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Google Scholar, this tool could also come to play a valuable role in future scholarship….just don’t cite it in your class projects!
Dan Roberts, MAR
Dan received his BA and MAR in Religion. These helped him develop a deep respect for the power of communication through the written word. His academic writings have included studies of the Magical Realism literary genre, films using multiple media, and post-existentialism. He loves to assist students in finding better ways to express their thoughts in a clear and effective style.