SikhiWiki:No original research

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Sikhiwiki is not the place for original research. Citing sources and avoiding original research are inextricably linked: the only way to demonstrate that you are not doing original research is to cite reliable, verifiable and easily checkable sources which provide information that is directly related to the topic of the article and that what you have quoted directly adheres to what those sources say.

Sikhiwiki:No original research is one of four content-governing policies. The other three are Sikhiwiki:Neutral point of view, Sikhiwiki:Verifiability and SikhiWiki:Relevance. Jointly, these policies determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable to Sikhiwiki and other such Encyclopaedias. Because the four policies are complementary, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors should therefore try to familiarize themselves with all four. The principles upon which these four policies are based are non-negotiable and cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus. Their policy pages may be edited only to improve the application and explanation of the principles.


Original research is a term used in SikhiWiki to refer to material placed in articles by SikhiWiki users that has not been previously published by a reliable source. It includes unpublished material, for example, arguments, concepts, data, ideas, statements, or theories, or any new analysis or synthesis of published material that appears to advance a position — or, in the words of Wikipedia's co-founder Jimbo Wales, that would amount to a "novel narrative or historical interpretation".

Primary and secondary sources

All sources must be verifiable

Primary sources present information or data, such as

  • archeological artifacts
  • photographs (but see below)
  • historical documents such as a diary, census, video or transcript of surveillance, a public hearing, trial, or interviews
  • tabulated results of surveys or questionnaires
  • written or recorded records of laboratory assays or observations
  • written or recorded records of field observations
  • artistic and fictional works such as poems, scripts, screenplays, novels, motion pictures, videos, and television programs (whether recorded in digital or analogue formats).

Secondary sources present a generalization, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, explanation or evaluation of information or data from other sources.

Research that creates primary sources is not allowed. All articles in Wikipedia should be based on information collected from published primary and secondary sources. This is not "original research"; it is "source-based research", and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia. Articles which draw predominantly on primary sources are generally discouraged, in favor of articles based predominantly on secondary sources.

Although most articles should rely predominantly on secondary sources, there are relatively rare occasions when they may rely entirely on primary sources (for example, current events or News announcments. An article or section of an article that relies on primary source should (1) only make descriptive claims the accuracy of which is easily verifiable by any reasonable adult without specialist knowledge, and (2) make no analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims. Contributors drawing on entirely primary sources shoud be exceptionally careful to comply with both conditions.

SikhiWiki articles include material on the basis of verifiability, not truth. That is, we report what other reliable sources have published, whether or not we regard the material as accurate. In order to avoid doing original research, and in order to help improve the quality of SikhiWiki articles, it is essential that any primary-source material, as well as any generalization, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, or evaluation of information or data, has been published by a reputable third-party publication (that is, not self-published) that is available to readers either from a website (other than Wikipedia) or through a public library. It is very important to cite sources appropriately, so that readers can find your source and can satisfy themselves that SikhiWiki has used the source correctly.

In some cases, there may be controversy or debate over what constitutes a legitimate or reputable authority or source. Where no agreement can be reached about this, the article should provide an account of the controversy and of the different authorities or sources. Such an account also helps ensure the article's neutral point of view.

What is excluded?

An edit counts as original research if it proposes ideas or arguments. That is, if it does any of the following:

  • It introduces a theory or method of solution;
  • It introduces original ideas;
  • It defines new terms;
  • It provides or presumes new definitions of pre-existing terms;
  • It introduces an argument, without citing a reputable source for that argument, that purports to refute or support another idea, theory, argument, or position;
  • It introduces an analysis or synthesis of established facts, ideas, opinions, or arguments in a way that builds a particular case favored by the editor, without attributing that analysis or synthesis to a reputable source;

The fact that we exclude something does not necessarily mean the material is bad — it simply means that Wikipedia is not the proper venue for it. We would have to turn away even Pulitzer Prize - level journalism and Nobel Prize - level science if its authors tried to publish it first on Wikipedia. If you have an idea that you think should become part of the corpus of knowledge that is Wikipedia, the best approach is to arrange to have your results published in a peer-reviewed journal or reputable news outlet, and then document your work in an appropriately non-partisan manner.

See [Wikipedia guidelines] for more details

See also

Further reading