WIKIPEDIA and other online research sources were yesterday blamed for Scotland's falling exam pass rates.Of course Wikipedia is occasionally inaccurate - while I use it myself it is primarily to find sources. So are the works of 'researchers,' especially when dealing with controversial subjects. So are newspapers. Everyone has bias, and it is unfortunately too easy to downplay or exclude information that is embarrassing to one's case or shows one's opponents in a positive light*. It's good that the article addresses the fact that students ought to be skeptical about what they read online. They should expand that skepticism to include everything they read**.
The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) said pupils are turning to websites and internet resources that contain inaccurate or deliberately misleading information before passing it off as their own work.
The group singled out online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows entries to be logged or updated by anyone and is not verified by researchers, as the main source of information.
That's not really a problem; it is simply a fact of research. The real problem lies in that innocuous little phrase, "passing it off as their own work." It's not their own work, and it's no consolation that students are passing off inaccurate information*** as their own rather than more accurate. Blaming Wikipedia in this case is a lot like complaining that the car you stole broke down before you could make a clean getaway.
* One is certainly not going to get an accurate overview of the Climate Progress debate (or even the evidence) reading Al Gore. You are going to get the evidence that supports his thesis. That is is how science is done.
** This line made me laugh out loud: Boasting over two million articles, Wikipedia is used by about 6 per cent of internet users, significantly more than the traffic to more authorised sites, such as those of newspapers.
*** It might be a little consolation, however, that it is easier to catch cheaters who use online sources.