Seminar Research on Wikipedia (FSS 2021)

Wikipedia is one of the most popular and most visited Web sites. As a collaboratively created and maintained multi-lingual encyclopedia, it is also actively researched. In this seminar, we will look at research on Wikipedia from multiple angles: how large is it? what is its coverage and quality? who are its editors? which biases exist? how do edit wars emerge? etc.


In this seminar, you will familiarize yourself with research on Wikipedia from a particular angle. You will conduct your own literature review, collect and organize research works, and compare and distill them in a final report.

As a participant, you are supposed to introduce a subfield of research on Wikipedia, and present it to the seminar participants. Each seminar paper undergoes a peer review process in the seminar. Presentations are supposed to be about 25 minutes long.


This seminar is organized by Prof. Dr. Heiko Paulheim

Available for Master students (2 SWS, 4 ECTS)

Prerequisites: none

Additional resources:

Slides from the kick off meeting are available here.


Note: the dates below have slightly changed!

  • March 8th, 8:30: kick off meeting. Slides
  • March 25th: initial literature list due
  • April 30th: paper draft due
  • May 14th: peer review due
  • May 31st, June 7th, 14th: presentations and discussions (see below)
  • July 4th: final paper due

Presentation Schedule

May 31st:

  • Size, growth and extent of Wikipedia
  • User Demographics
  • User Motivation

June 7th:

  • Article Coverage
  • Usage of Images

June 14th:

  • Article Quality and Trustworthiness
  • Vandalism
  • Registration

    • Registration will be available in Portal2 (tba)
    • After the kick off session, please send a ranked list of three topics you would like to read and present in the seminar to Bianca Lermer
    • Final assignment of topics will be made after the kick off meeting
  • Topics

    Note: the topic list below does not contain literature pointers. Finding relevant literature will be part of this seminar work. When searching for literature, please try to find works which do not only cover the English Wikipedia, but also comparisons with other languages.

    General shape of Wikipedia and its articles:

    • Growth of Wikipedia over time
    • Article quality and trustworthyness
    • Article coverage
    • Usage of sources and citations
    • Usage of images

    Users and editing process of Wikipedia

    • User demographics
    • User motivation (why do authors create/change an article?)
    • Governance and policies in Wikipedia
    • Vandalism
    • Gender bias in articles
    • User collaboration patterns (how do users collaborate to write articles?)
    • Edit wars and controversial articles
    • Bots on Wikipedia
    • Readers of Wikipedia (e.g., article popularity, navigation patterns)
  • Additional Reading

    The following paper provides a high level survey on research around Wikipedia: