According to a March 16, 2010 posting to The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus, more than half of college students frequently use Wikipedia for course-related research. Students were more likely to use Wikipedia at the start of the research process to obtain background information or a summary of the topic--although Wikipedia is used in combination with other information resources. Wikipedia meets the needs of today's college students because it offers a mixture of coverage, currency, convenience, and comprehensibility. Architecture, engineering and science majors were more likely to use Wikipedia, especially if they were frequent users of Google for course-related research. Those at four-year institutions were more likely to use Wikipedia than those enrolled in two-year colleges. Only 16% indicated they used Wikipedia for its wiki capabilities.
These results were originally published in a report published in First Monday, an online peer-reviewed journal. The study surveyed 2,318 students at six different U.S. colleges with 86 focus group responses.