Wikipedia’s Role and Value in the Advertising Classroom

Jeffrey Allen Hoyle, Deborah Maree Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wikipedia has continued to impact searching, collaboration, and accessing information since it’s inception as Nupedia in 2000. Lorenzen (2006) finds that the exponential growth combined with increased tendency of students to use Wikipedia for academic assignments results in what “is forcing many to reconsider what is and what is not valid and authoritative online” (p1). Should higher education advertising faculty allow students to use Wikipedia for their assignments? How can the literature inform scholars on this tool? This paper seeks to address the appropriateness of using Wikipedia as a credible source of information in advertising courses. This paper explains, in layman’s terms, the peer-review and editing system used by Wikipedia and examines the advantages and disadvantages to this system. Moreover, a categorical distinction content analysis is used to compare a random sample of 321 advertising terms and definitions (approximately 20%) found in several advertising textbooks to the definition of the term as found on the Wikipedia Web Site. 1,127 printed pages of data were analyzed. Results indicate, overall, Wikipedia is an accurate source of information for advertising courses. Advertising faculty should continue to engage in the philosophical discussion about the merits of encouraging the use of Wikipedia in the higher education advertising classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17
JournalJournal of Advertising Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


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