Wikipedia as Primary Source

I have written in the past about using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in the college classroom on this blog. To reiterate briefly, after dividing my class into small groups of three to five students, I hand each of them a packet of prepared selections from Wikipedia. This might be selections from a particularly controversial Wikipedia article or selections from an article that has experienced substantial changes in tone and focus over the last decade. Each group may read articles from different years (using the View History function on Wikipedia) or from different languages (translated into English).

I have decided to upload the course materials for this in-class activity for others who might find this interesting and useful in their History, Social Studies, Political Science, or other similar courses.

I uploaded these articles as PDF files for ease of use. If you are not certain if you have the necessary software to read these files, visit Adobe’s website. (link)

  1. ISIL/ISIS/DAESH
    • Dates Accessed: Several articles between first edition (Jan 2007) and April 2018.
    • Language: English
    • Selection Criteria: Including only Introduction of article with hyperlinks and references removed for easier reading in class
    • Basic Findings:
      • Basic information about the establishment, goals, and territories of the Islamic State have change substantially over the last decade
      • The mission of ISIS/ISIL has sometimes focused on “protecting Iraqis” from American occupation, while other times on “protecting Iraqi Sunnis” more specifically
      • Important people and places shift quickly from year to year
  2. Filibuster
    • Date Accessed: Spring 2017 (Article Introductions Only)
    • Languages: Spanish, French, German, Bulgarian, English
    • Basic Findings:
      • Terminology uncertain between pirate, buccaneer, filibuster, and adventurer, depending on language
      • Nationalism and national history predicts likely focus of each language
      • General bias/opinion of authors shifts from neutral to positive to negative tone when describing actions of historical figures
  3. Buccaneer
    • Date Accessed from Wikipedia: February 2018
    • Languages: Ukrainian, Italian, Korean, English, Spanish, German, Russian, Persian, Hebrew, French, Swedish
  4. Crimean War
    • Date Accessed from Wikipedia:
    • Languages:
    • Basic Findings:
  5. Piracy
    • Date Accessed:
    • Languages:
    • Basic Findings: