Wikipedia:How-to (historical)

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Note that some people feel how-to articles belong on Wikibooks, and such pages may end up on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion.

A HowTo is a simple set of instructions needed to complete a task or build something. Ideally, Wikipedia articles should not be mere sets of instructions, but additionally provide historical context and further information.

A how-to on Wikipedia should include:

  • A brief overview of the project being built or end result of the instructions.
  • A list of materials, tools or prerequisites (if needed).
  • Time needed.
  • Appropriate safety warnings (if needed).
  • Instructions for the project.
  • What to do after the project is finished (cleanup).
  • How to use the result or object constructed.

A how-to will almost always contain some degree of personal opinion in the form of helpful suggestions. This is acceptable within reasonable bounds. In the context of an encyclopedia, however, it is best if you try to fairly represent any reasonable disagreements that exist about how to do the task, in light of our neutral point of view policy. For example, there are various methods of long division; on how to do long division, it would be an excellent idea to include these different methods.

See: Wikipedia's HOWTOs Index for a list of Wikipedia how-tos.

How-tos in Science[edit]

Often it is appropriate for Wikipedia to include details of a particular scientific experiment that are of interest. For example, if they are the first of their kind, or if they are commonly performed, or if they are just generally well known. It is important that scientific how-tos explain why they are of interest.

Some questions that you should consider in articles on scientific experiments:

  • Who first performed this experiment? When? Where? With whom?
  • What technical inventions allowed this experiment to be performed?
  • Where and when were the results published? Under what title?
  • What was the scientific reaction to this experiment?
  • What was the public reaction?
  • What theories did this experiment confirm or disprove?
  • How has this experiment been simplified or made redundant by later innovations?
  • What scientific principles were used in the design of this experiment?
  • Is this experiment commonly performed in schools or universities? At what age range is it typically performed?
  • What conclusions can be drawn from the experiment?

Related articles[edit]