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Wikipedia: Evaluating Wikipedia Articles


What Makes a Good Wikipedia Article?

As the number of articles increase, the Wikimedia community decided there was a need to rate the quality of articles to not only highlight good articles, but to bring attention to articles of less quality so that the community could work to improve them. Wikipedia articles are rated using a quality scale that is assessed by active members

Class Criteria Example
Featured article FA  The article has attained featured article status by passing an official review. Water fluoridation
(as of August 2014)
A-Class article A  The article is well organized and essentially complete, having been reviewed by impartial reviewers from this WikiProject or elsewhere. Good article status is not a requirement for A-Class. N/A
 GA  The article has attained good article status by passing an official review. Church of Scientology editing on Wikipedia
 B  The article is mostly complete and without major problems, but requires some further work to reach good article standards. Wikimedia Foundation
 C  The article is substantial, but is still missing important content or contains much irrelevant material. The article should have some references to reliable sources, but may still have significant problems or require substantial cleanup. Wikitravel
 Start  An article that is developing, but which is quite incomplete. It might or might not cite adequate reliable sources. Censorship of Wikipedia
 Stub  A very basic description of the topic. However, all very-bad-quality articles will fall into this category. Crescent Falls
(as of February 2013)

Evaluating a Wikipedia Article

Remember, Wikipedia articles are not appropriate sources of information for college level work. But Wikipedia can be a good starting point to find other, more appropriate sources of information. Please use Wikipedia responsibly.

  • Assess the article's quality
    • Check the article's grade on the article's talk page.
    • Is the article's topic explained well?
    • Are the Wikipedia style conventions followed? Is there an introductory paragraph? Is the article broken up into seperate sections?
    • Does the article provide in-line citations? Are the sources appropriate for the information in the article? Are the sources authoritative?
  • Look at the article's history page and talk page
    • Check the article's creation date.
    • Look to see how many editors have contributed to the article. Has the article been created by only one or two people, or has it been a collaborative effort among many editors?
    • Has the article been subject to heavy or continued vandalism?
    • Have there been discussions about the article's validity?
    • Does the article appear to be controversial?
  • Pay attention to the template messages that appear at the top of, or within, an article.
    • Make sure to read the template messages (the boxes at the top of the page or section) if they appear in Wikipedia articles. They can inform you of any issues with the article such as lack of references and sources, the presence of unverified or unreliable information, or if the article requires clean-up, etc.


Evaluating Wikipedia Brochure

Evaluating Wikipedia  

For more information, refer to the "Evaluating Wikipedia: Tracing the evolution and evaluating the quality of articles" brochure. After reading the brochure, you will be able to:

  • Understand how Wikipedia's articles evolve
  • Evaluate the quality of an article