Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

Turning Introductory Comparative Politics and Elections Courses into Social Science Research Communities Using Wikipedia: Improving Both Teaching and Research

Publication date: 
04/2015
Authors: 
Ryan P. Kennedy
Brian Keegan
Eric Forbush
David Lazer
Turning Introductory Comparative Politics and Elections Courses into Social Science Research Communities Using Wikipedia: Improving Both Teaching and Research

This article advocates a lesson plan for introductory comparative politics and election courses. The authors argue that Wikipedia (yes, Wikipedia) provides a unique platform for improving learning outcomes and a useful social good from traditional student papers on elections. The proposed lesson plan can achieve this in at least three ways: (1) by providing social incentives for learning and a method for students to contribute to social science knowledge from their earliest courses, the incorporation of Wikipedia editing can improve student learning and retention; (2) incorporating an online information component can help both future students and researchers by improving the quality and quantity of easily accessible and well-referenced information about historical and upcoming elections; and (3) the use of the Wiki format is becoming increasingly common in both business and government. Teaching the basics of editing is an increasingly useful skill for students to learn for future employment.

Research Areas TOC

Computational Social Science, Collective Cognition

Computational Social Science, 21st Century Democracy, Political Networks

DNA and the Criminal Justice System

21st Century Democracy, Political Networks