The somewhat unsettling results of a recent study of 186 medical students suggest that roughly half of all surgeons, general physicians and other doctors-in-training view Wikipedia as a reliable source of medical information and regularly use it to prepare for exams.

To ensure the accuracy of research results and educational materials, every serious academic community enforces a rigorous peer review process. While Wikipedia’s content is regularly evaluated by a team of editors, the site’s tag line, “The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” is less than assuring in this instance. –ARK

MedPage Today:

Although study groups and preparation guides proved more popular methods of studying, 46.77% of 186 med students surveyed said they referred to the publicly maintained Wikipedia as a primary source of knowledge, Maryam Namdari, DO, who practices in Philadelphia, and colleagues reported at the American Psychiatric Association meeting here.

… Although 46.77% of students said they relied on Wikipedia, Namdari said she thinks this is an underestimate because students may be less likely to admit to using the website on a survey.

… And, she explained, students who cited Wikipedia as a study aid did not rely solely on it — 83.9% of Wikipedia users also turned to question books while, 65.51% used Wikipedia, question books and Up-to-Date.

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