The reliability of Wikipedia as source of information has been controversial since its foundation 10 years ago. In our team discussion both accuracy and reliability were the main subjects brought up by the elements against its use for research. The defendants of its use argued that Wikipedia should be used for an initial study owing to its large data content.
Many authors defend the use of Wikipedia as a start point for research and to acquire knowledge; however, its accuracy and reliability flaws are the main concern in the academic world. Wikipedia is known for being "the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit" (National Public Radio, 2011, para. 1). This and other attributes does not entitle its use for academic research, but because of its over 3.5 million articles and access speed Wikipedia is a valid source for gaining initial information.
On the week of Wikipedia's 10th anniversary the National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed its fans on Facebook and Twitter and asked the most interesting things they learned through Wikipedia. The responses varied from how users found the whereabouts of old boyfriends that became a public figure in Greece to the legend of cactus cats who cuts open cacti and drink its juice, becoming drunk (National Public Radio, 2011). It is undeniable the amount of interesting source of information that one can obtain from the website, yet it is the validity of the information that concerns scholars when these information are used in academic research.