The primary audience for Boyd’s essay on students’ use of Wikipedia are teachers who reject the free encyclopedia for lack of credibility. As a starting point, the author uses examples from her experience in encounters with students who share a similar viewpoint with teachers on using Wikipedia for academic purposes. In her arguments, the author emphasizes how one of the students pointed that Wikipedia is not an “accredited” source without necessarily knowing what it means for the source to be accredited (Boyd, 2019, p. 817). Another student example in the essay highlighted how teachers often might miss the student’s use of Wikipedia if the source is cited as a more credible alternative, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica or Encarta (Boyd, 2019). Thus, the essay effectively evaluates the current situation as it thoroughly explores the causes of stigmatism associated with Wikipedia used for academic purposes.
However, reading Boyd’s essay could also significantly benefit students and parents. In the middle part of the work, the author questions the objectivity in history, providing an example from her experience. In telling the story about her confusion in differences between British and American narratives in history lessons, the author points at the sheer hypocrisy of approving credible academic sources with a more fitting narrative. Furthermore, the essay successfully convinces the audience that while Wikipedia is an open source that could be edited at any time, its history of edits and discussion parts provides valuable perspective on the topic. Therefore, if the author targeted the audience of students or parents, the essay would change structurally. For the audience of parents who do not want their children to be confused about different interpretations of historical events, the segment with varying narratives could be placed at the beginning of the essay. Alternatively, in a case where the essay targeted the audience of students, the part that perceives Wikipedia as a work in progress could be placed at the beginning to capture the readers’ attention effectively.
Boyd, D. (2019). Wikipedia as a site of knowledge production. In R. Bullock & M. D. Goggin (Eds.), The Norton field guide to writings with readings (5th ed., pp. 816-822). W.W. Norton.