Definitions Exercise


Please post your Definitions exercise to this page. Let me suggest again that you work in your word processing program, save your work, copy it and paste it into the editing window.

For the sake of convenience and readability, please put your name with your revision and format the page in such a way as to leave space between exercises. If you wish, you may separate the exercises with a horizontal line (2nd row, first button on the left). Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Kaitlynn Gessner

Wikapedia can be a great source of general and scientific knowledge. However, even though the information on Wikipedia is mostly correct, either the articles are too vague or too detailed and fail in explaining what the advanced details mean. When looking up cold-formed steel on Wikipedia it gave me this definition “products made by rolling or pressing thin gauges of sheet steel into goods”, which is correct. The article then goes into general uses and the history of the steel. Afterward it has very detailed articles that only someone with background could understand. For example, the ductility article spat out a bunch of figures and numbers. It did not give any indication of what these numbers meant in terms of property, which is what I thought the point of Wikapedia was to give information and explain. But most of the terms here lacked the explaining. Overall wikapedia would be a good sight for people wanting to know just a little knowledge or people who already know how to apply advanced information, but not for someone who is trying to learn and understand.

Randall Ferrance

For this assignment, I began looking over different terms however I found that I needed to go no further than the article on “Computer Security.” What I found was indeed an absolute wealth of knowledge that the user base had included, however I quickly found it to be a virtual cacophony of buzzwords and phrases thrown around haphazardly. What I expected given the Analysis of Content that I had read, would be a 10,000 foot overview of the topic, possibly with a few sections and links to pages dedicated to sub topics. Instead it seemed to be an attempt to give all possible information on the one page, even if some of it might even be a stretch in terms of quality and relevance. In addition several sections of the page had very few if any sources cited. Reflecting on the idea of definitions given this page, I would say that my opinion depends on what the expected audience is. If you expect the average person to visit this page based on curiosity, it might prove helpful to them. But for someone who actually wants to learn about the subject or someone who needs to look up a concept they can’t remember, I’m not sure it prove to be very helpful. In general though I believe that definitions should probably be left more to those who are qualified in the corresponding field.

Michelle Duong

The article listed for the term “patent” gave very useful and concise information. Wikipedia states the definition as “the right granted to anyone who invents any new, useful, and non-obvious process machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter”. The article breaks down different components of what a patent is, the history, how it is issued, and criticism and controversy over the subject matter. It was well written enough that people who have no interest on the topic would understand what it was. Additionally, the references that were taken were from the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office. A negative about this article was that some of the language used was a bit harder to understand; it having the need for links to the definition of other terms and phrases. Overall, the article gave enough information on the term patent along with related topics that a person might be interested in looking further. There seemed to be no bias in this article, just given facts about what it is and the controversies over the term. True, there are many articles in Wikipedia that have a lot of room for improvement, however, for this term, the article was very helpful and could be used for research.

Christian Whitehead

The definition I chose for this assignment was “shorting” a form of selling stocks in the financial market. Terms should not be able to only be defined by professionals and held in vast obscurity to those outside of the profession, as open-source communities (Wikipedia) can provide valuable information, as long as the reader knows the context of the information provided. The Wikipedia article does a great job of providing a general overview for the definition of shorting and the practices that go along with it. The quality of the writing itself is sound and the accuracy of the article was valid, with many of the sources cited coming from reputable trading and academic websites such as “ScottTrade” and “McGraw-Hill”. I could not identify any point of biased information, though it is important to note sites such as ScottTrade that are cited in the article may lean towards one strategy over the other on their own website, causing a potential for biased strategies to be posted on the Wikipedia page in the future. Overall I do feel that open-source communities can provide valuable information, though the context of the information presented must be noted. Open source communities are a great and easy option for obtaining accurate general information and allowing you to decide if you want to pursue this information further, on a more professional and in-depth level.

Alex LePelch

I believe the website Wikipedia to be a great source when it comes to learning and/or discovering scientific or technical topics in a way that does just enough to scratch the surface, but in also laying down foundations and providing follow up related articles and resources. Looking up the term “Field-programmable gate array”, I found a great deal of useful information covering the topic. I was provided with a plethora of links to related topics that seem to portray the information in a concise manner, as well as useful external links, and further reading suggestions. However, I was also provided with what seemed like a lot of random information laid out sporadically. I think of Wikipedia as a great starting point as well as a good reference, but maybe something that shouldn't be cited, given that it is written by participants of the community and information might not be as accurate as all possible due to its open structure. All in all, when it comes to learning a scientific topic or key word in detail, I think that Wikipedia can set you off in the right direction in relaying reliable information and sometimes providing useful links, but by no means is a one-stop solution.

Kai Lu

After I searched several different terms on wikipedia, I was attracted by the article about building information modeling(BIM), a technology used in construction management. So I decided to choose the definition of “BIM” for this exercise. Wikipedia gave me the definition of “BIM” as “ a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places.” The article was separated into different sections to introduce the history, definition, and issues of “BIM”. This wikipedia article used clear sentences and concise language to explain to people who hardly have knowledge about BIM to understand what it was. In fact, wikipedia was a good open-source community for people who just want to know a little bit about BIM. However, from my point of view, this article lacked explanations of how to utilize BIM in buildings for those people who expect to learn it. A good point of this article is that there are no bias of whether it is a good technology or not, it only gives facts and enough information about what BIM is and let audience to decide whether good or bad. Even though there are many blanks in the area of utilization of BIM, wikipedia is still a good place to start for people who want to get an overview of some terms.

Zachery Dean

Wikipedia is a very useful website that gives the viewer a foundation of knowledge on any topic he or she researches. The main issue, however, is that all the information is put in general terms that anyone can understand and lacks a true depth of knowledge. I searched the term "Tensile Strength", which is being discussed in my Material Science class. Wikipedia gives the definition as “the force required to pull something such as rope, wire, or a structural beam to the point where it breaks.” The definition gives the basic information needed for someone who is mildly interested in the topic, but not enough detail to give the person a deeper understanding. The remaining of the article gives some useful data and links that a person can use to try and gain more knowledge about the topic. The article does not appear to lead anyone astray, however, or provide false information on tensile strength and is a resource someone could use if needing a quick overview of the topic. Overall I believe that Wikipedia is a great resource that someone can use to gain a foundation of knowledge on any topic. Using it to learn a topic in depth for a class or paper, however, would not be as beneficial.

Peilin Zhang

The word I searched for is “Id”, a term from psychology which explains the instinctual energy of human given by Freud. The definition given by Wikipedia says, “The id is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human’s basic, instinctual drives.” I think the definition of this term has been explained accurately with a phrase everybody can understand. In order to help the audiences to understand, wiki also tells us that a newborn child is regarded as completely “id-ridden”. Wiki also gives a well definition of “pleasure principle” too, which is the principle drive the Id. All the cited information have a citation, people can directly click on the link to find the original sources, which is great. But still, I think the article provided by wiki is lack of detailed explanations and examples. Overall, from my point of view, as an open-source community, Wikipedia did a good job in maintaining the average quality of the content. The information provided by all participants contributes to the topic from different aspects, but sometimes the information seems a little bit randomly arranged. From the term I chose; I could not identify any biased information. Wikipedia should be a good start point for people to understand the basic concepts of a term, but if people want to have deeper understanding of a term, Wikipedia should not be the source you looking for. But a good method could be using the link they provided to the original sources, the detailed explanations and examples are most likely provided there.

Prakash Sapkota

Search engine like Wikipedia done good job defining words and word structure. I got all the information I needed for the word Cholesterol. According to the Wikipedia, Cholesterol is a hydrocarbon organic molecule essential for cell membrane of the animals. It helps to maintain structural integrity and fluidity of the cells. Cholesterol is vital to the life. I found the organic molecular formula for it. Wikipedia was a good source to fully understand the term. It not only defines the term but also gives all the needed materials and information. Wikipedia is an open source search engine for different terms and meaning. . To research and write something about, Wikipedia is a good start point even though it is not a scholarly good source to put it on the paper. There are other sources like Miriam Webster, American Heritage Dictionary, Word-Web and such other sites that provides key information for technical and scientific terms, however, Wikipedia is a better source at the beginning of the writing. It gives basics foundation to start and develop. It provides meaning, its usage and history. To make Wikipedia better, people can add reliable source for the term or link to relate the information online. It seems legit and valuable to people when writing something. It also removes concerns when talking about the validity of the content. I think it is a good idea to search Wikipedia along with other site for meaning of the word.

Ain Haas

Wikipedia is, all things considered, a fantastic site for finding information on just about any topic conceived. However, keeping that in mind, the open-source nature of the website does logically raise some concerns over the validity of its content. Personally, I agree with the assertion that key definitions within a profession should be both an act of Voluntarism to experts in the field as well as a public forum open to any willing participant. A huge concern, therefore, is the ability of any non-specialized participant to engage in a productive and meaningful discussion of a technical topic. For example, the Wikipedia entry on Ohm’s Law, a fundamental definition behind the very concept of electricity and applications of, had about ten links to other fundamental definitions in the abstract alone. With the way the article is structured, functional knowledge of all of these tangential definitions was needed just to understand let alone edit or contribute to the article on Ohm’s Law. This means that there is a high barrier of entry for any lay persons who wish to contribute to the subject. The rest of the article continues in a similar manner with many equations and discussions of relatively high level scientific subjects where even lower-level educated students of the material might not be able to contribute. So even though this article is an accurate and informative presentation of highly specialized scientific material, it does not create a conducive environment for a public forum in which any member of a community might hope to contribute to in a meaningful way.

Wesley Thurston

Upon searching for an appropriate Wikipedia article involving my field, I decided to use “Dalvik (software)”. Dalvik is a type of software called a virtual machine that the Android operating system uses to run applications on a phone or tablet. It’s the reason that applications run successfully on Android devices. This article was well written. There is enough information given that the average person can read about it and get an understanding of what is being explained, and there is not a lot of filler information to confuse the reader. The article does a good job of providing sources and proper links to things that some readers may not be familiar with and that will give a better understanding of the information in the article. I consider Wikipedia a great first step in the research process, however, one must be careful to read all sources and make sure they are legitimate. The article I have chosen, presents this clearly and concisely. The one negative to the article is that it may not give enough information to those who are programmers and wish to learn more than the basic information. I have found, in the past, that many Wikipedia articles lack the necessary technical information needed to understand some subjects, however, as stated, they make a great first step for a person trying to grow an idea.

Runtian Lu
It is absolutely a difficult job for Wikipedia to explain and give definitions to basically all the terms in the world today. Terms in the world are widely spread, some are common words so everyone knows something about it, some are technical and professional words that people may never see it. Thus, it is necessary to let both professionals and other people without the professional knowledge to determine the definition of a term. For each term, non-professional people through the open-source process can give it a brief, concise and simple definition. Then, professionals can add advanced definitions and examples to it. Thus, everyone can just take what he/she needs from the definition of this term. I chose the term “FPGA” from electrical engineering field as the central example. In Wikipedia, it gives you the full name of this abbreviation at the very beginning, which is absolutely correct. The first sentence, “A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing – hence ‘field-programmable’.”, gives a simple definition of FPGA, in which I think people without professional knowledge can also understand what it is. However, I think this is not enough. Think about if a reader read this word from a magazine or newspaper about technology, but he is not in electrical engineering. What he might need? Maybe he only needs to know what this FPGA can actually help people to finish what kind of task. Thus, experts may give an abroad but still professional definition about what this object can do, or without the FPGA, what tasks that our computers cannot finish. In the rest part, Wikipedia gives very professional definitions on history, applications, and especially the architecture part.

Joe Gentry

Wikipedia is a very helpful and useful website that allows viewers to search a wide array of topics. The information they offer is collaboratively edited but is still, usually, very accurate. They give a ton of information on a topic which allows the viewer to gain easy to understand knowledge. The word I chose was “wildlife conservation” which is a term we use regularly in my wildlife science classes. Wikipedia’s definition of this word is “the practice of protecting endangered plant and animal species and their habitats” which I thought was a very accurate definition and was also easily understandable if you had no prior knowledge of the word. On the Wikipedia page it explains “major threats to wildlife”, talks about the “North American model of wildlife conservation”, discusses how government is involved, and discusses nongovernment agencies, all of these sections are important to explaining wildlife conservation. I did not find anything wrong with the article, everything seemed accurate to me. A lot of the references they used are from credible sources which gives credibility to the writer(s) of the Wikipedia page. While Wikipedia is very helpful, I would only use it to gain a general knowledge of a topic. If I want an accurate, in-depth analysis of this term, that I have no doubt is credible, I would go to a different source that I know was written only by experts. In conclusion, I like Wikipedia to get a decent understanding of a topic I don’t know about.

Aaron Mabee

Wikipedia can be a great source for trying to quickly look up information on a specific topic. However, the information that is found on Wikipedia is not always as useful or as in depth for what someone may need. For this assignment, I decided to look up “reinforced concrete” on Wikipedia to see what sort of information it would give me. Upon my review of the site, it seemed that most of the basic terms and definitions used with reinforced concrete were covered. However, with knowledge that anyone from the public can edit a Wikipedia page, I am skeptical to the information that I read about topics on the website. I do not agree with the statement that all people should be able to edit a Wikipedia page regardless of their profession or professional status. I believe that even though many people may think that they are very knowledgeable on a subject, the information provided by the professionals in that certain field would be looked upon as being more trustworthy and useful. If only experts were able to edit the information on Wikipedia, I think that more people would feel more comfortable about what they read about a certain subject matter. I think that this would give Wikipedia more credibility as a website for finding information and it would ensure that the correct information is presented for a subject.

Kasey Owen

I chose to search for the word “allomorph.” It was a term that we covered in both courses I took on linguistics, so I felt like I had a pretty firm grasp in understanding its meaning and applications. The Wikipedia article on this specific linguistics term was well written and much more understandable than I thought it would be. I was expecting the term “allomorph” to be defined by the heavy usage of overly specialized terms or vocabulary. Conversely, the entry was written mainly in layman’s terms to what seemed like an average but educated audience, as compared to more complex definitions I have seen on websites that cater solely to the field of linguistics. The definition did, however, use a few specialized terms that were common knowledge within the field of linguistics but may not be simplified enough for the average reader to get a full grasp of the definition. Two of these terms, “linguistics” and “morpheme,” were highlighted with a hyperlink that would lead the reader to a definition of each of these words, which seemed conducive to every reader fully understanding the definition of “allomorph.” In contrast, terms like “phonological variation” were included in the definition, but not explained or defined further. This Wikipedia entry also contained a significant amount of examples to demonstrate the concept, which I found useful to accompany the definition. While this entry did not seem to contain extraneous or objectionable material, the examples it included did require the reader to have knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet to understand the symbols used to demonstrate sound change. I think that the definitions of key words and terms should determined by both experts and participants of a community, so that the definitions are not overly dense and stilted in nature. Allowing an open-source process in which multiple members of a community can work together to blend the best ideas and articulations together would create a straightforward and clear definition that would appeal to and be understood by a larger audience of readers. This article’s success was owed in part to its authors’ abilities to generally explain complex concepts in layman’s terms and provide comprehensible examples in easy to read lists and charts. I don’t think that experts alone would have provided such a simplified definition or entry for this term. The contributors of this article were able to effectively work together to create a clear definition and description of “allomorph” without adding irrelevant or inappropriate materials to the entry.

James Crabb

The article titled ‘Reynold’s Number’ is fully descriptive and extensively explains the applications and derivations involved with this complex topic. Wikipedia has done an excellent job showing the difference between laminar and turbulent flows, which can be determined using the dimensionless Reynold’s number. While Wikipedia allows anyone to add information, this article seems to be secured by the professionals. It is nice to have non-scientific terms and examples to explain complicated concepts, but it would look silly next to all the science jargon. To the common eye, this article might be unreadable, as many people don’t know much about fluid mechanics. However, main points can be found in simple sentences usually at the beginning or end of a segment. Scrolling to the additional links and resources, I found only professional articles and almost everything was related to engineering, mechanics, or physics. There simply is not room for people to add their personal opinions about the Reynolds Number, as it is something bound by facts and science. A better example for the open-source process (where anyone can add information) requires some human touch, perhaps a history article or social issue. The fact is that science articles are strictly professional (disregarding social perceptions of controversial issues) and should be written by the experts.

Caroline Wilson

The article I chose to analyze is "Socioeconomic Status." I personally feel like this is a difficult term to to explain, simply because so many factors influence a person's status. Non-sociological terms that essentially mean socioeconomic status are used daily. One can call a person: uppity, slumish, high class, low class, up town, etc. But in reality, all these words are attempting to describe a person's socioeconomic status. Aspects that are included in the article are: income, education, wealth, occupation, and more. These are all fairly obvious, and could be identified by the public. But there are more aspects socioeconomic status that were identified by scholars: Home environment, parenting styles, language development, and syntax. This article was compiled by scholarly sources, but I feel there is much that can be added, but doesn't have the peer reviewed research to support it. I would argue that tastes in music, clothing, food, movies, and even alcohol are all symbols that add to a person's socioeconomic status. These are incredibly important aspects in defining what socioeconomic status is, but they are left out becuase of the pressure to remain scholarly.

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