Gender perspective, information behaviors, and Wikipedia



The purpose of this study is to examine potential differences between the genders amongst college student's information behaviors of Wikipedia use. Particularly, this study explores the following research questions:

  • 1.Is there a difference between male and female college students in their use of Wikipedia?
  • 2.Are there motivational differences between male and female use of Wikipedia?
  • 3.Is there a difference between male and female perceptions of the information quality of Wikipedia?
  • 4Is there a difference between male and female confidence in evaluating the quality of the information from Wikipedia?
  • 5Finally, what factors affect male and female students' use of Wikipedia?

The importance of the study lies in the following: first, it provides new knowledge of gender differences of uses, perceptions, motivations and confidence in evaluating information from Wikipedia, which may enhance our understanding of gender perspectives of information behavior in the web environment. Second, this study's findings may help educators understand gender gaps in their web information behaviors, which may aid the development of appropriate educational interventions.

Data were collected using two web surveys at two time points of the summer of 2007 and the spring of 2008. The population consisted of undergraduate students at a large public university in the mid-western United States. A total of 237 students participated in the study. The measurements of the study were developed or modified based on the literature of the Uses and Gratifications (U&G) approach, news credibility and self-efficacy. This poster session will present the major findings of the study.