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Training modules/dashboard/slides/11005-what-are-poor-sources-wikipedia


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What are poor sources for Wikipedia?Edit

For medicine, a single research study — no matter how popular it may be in newspapers or blog posts — is not relevant for Wikipedia until a medical consensus has emerged. This can be difficult for non-scientists to track on their own, which is why the medical editing community on Wikipedia strongly discourages the use of primary sources.

Primary sources are those where authors directly participated in the research, or documented their personal experiences. If an author has examined the patients, injected the rats, filled the test tubes, or supervised those who did, avoid using that source on Wikipedia. This doesn't make it a "bad study," or "bad science." Even top researchers published in top journals should be avoided. Instead, use articles that summarize many findings from a variety of researchers, and report back on findings across the field.

For biomedical information on Wikipedia, avoid:

  • Nearly all papers published in medical journals (except for systematic reviews or literature reviews that examine a wide variety of studies)
  • Popular press articles
  • Blogs

You can read the full guidelines on identifying reliable medical sources.