Study: Wikipedia good source on politics

April 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM
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PROVO, Utah, April 14 (UPI) -- Wikipedia has become a reliable source of political information, a U.S. researcher who fact-checked biographical information and voting statistics says.

Brigham Young University political scientist Adam Brown says his study confirms Wikipedia is a reliable place to get a political education.

Focusing on Wikipedia entries on past and present candidates for governor across the 50 states, Brown confirmed biographical information on the candidates and their election statistics and found very few inaccuracies, a BYU release said Thursday.

"My finding is optimistic for the health of our country," Brown, whose study appears in the journal PS: Political Science and Politics, said. "It doesn't have to be hard to learn about the political process, or your political candidates."

Brown studied 230 articles about major-party candidates who ran for governor between 1998 and 2008 and confirmed that the biographical information contained in the articles was completely accurate.

Brown said he had wondered whether "the free encyclopedia" would survive the heated debates and contradicting opinions of the political scene.

"The more an issue is talked about, the more people are battling over it on Wikipedia," Brown said.

But, he said, the more prominence an issue or candidate gained, the more accurate Wikipedia's information became.

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