Using Wikipedia for blog research? OK, that might be a controversial title, but I’ll explain. This is just a short post to demonstrate how you CAN use Wikipedia for faster blog post research.
I’ve read a lot of blog posts about, well, writing blog posts. A few of them were about how you should do your research for your blog posts. They weren’t necessarily wrong when they said you shouldn’t use Wikipedia as a source. Actually, they’re right, you shouldn’t use it as a source.
We’re all busy, correct? When you’re running a business and trying to create meaningful blog posts at the same time, it can get hectic.
But, you CAN use it as a great springboard for your research.
I’ve read other articles that give the same advice I’m writing about here too. I know I’m not the only one. Those aside, there are a lot of articles about why you shouldn’t use Wikipedia as a source. (There’s even a Wikipedia entry about using Wikipedia as a source in academia. Did I just use Wikipedia as a source? Irony, thy name is Wikipedia).
I’m not suggesting Wikipedia articles are inherently incorrect. I’m sure many of them are actually accurate. But unless you spend time doing the same research the authors of the Wikipedia entries you won’t know.
When I was writing essays and my dissertation at university I would have been publicly flogged for quoting Wikipedia. For good reason too.
However, I was told it can be a great place to find sources.
Any search engine will probably give you the sources and information you need to write a blog. But it can take time to hunt through umpteen websites to gather the correct information you want.
If you’re short on time and want to write a quick blog post (everyone is short on time, it seems) then you want a way to speed it up.
There are lots of elements to blog post writing that I’m not covering here. For example, I’m not telling you how to write more efficiently… but you can make the research part quicker.
Wikipedia to the rescue.
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about what Growth Hacking is. You probably already know; that’s probably why you’re writing a blog post on it. But you might read the Wikipedia entry anyway. It might be accurate, but for the purposes of your research, you can just skim it if you want to read it at all (speed is of the essence, correct?).
Scroll down to the references section, and the sources the writer has used will be listed there. Rather than spending time trying to find sources you can use by scrolling through search engine results pages, you’ve got a list you can work with straight away.
You can see the references section of the Growth Hacking Wikipedia page below. There’s a lot; more than enough to give you that head start that will save you time and make for slightly faster blog post research.
You still have to read these sources (I can’t suggest a way you can instantly acquire all knowledge. Sorry). But this gives you a list you can work through quickly.
When you’re short on time and you know what you want to write about, using Wikipedia in this way can be a good start.
That really is all it should be. A good start that propels you forward in the process a bit.
For larger articles or projects you should ideally do other research; don’t only rely on Wikipedia to bring you your sources.
But when you’re pressed for time and want to write a quick blog post, great. Just don’t use it directly as a source. Use it as a springboard.