An Evaluation of the Clicklaw Wikibook, JP Boyd on Family Law: Final Report

An Evaluation of the Clicklaw Wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law: Final Report by Dr Lorne Bertrand and Ms Joanne Putsch assesses the outputs and outcomes of the wikibook, JP Boyd on Family Law by analyzing usage data from Google Analytics and the data collected from a pop-up survey of wikibook users, a follow-up survey administered one week later and a follow-up survey administered six months later, to gauge the efficacy of the wikibook as a collaborative public legal education model.

Wikibooks are websites built on the MediaWiki platform, an open-source application that powers websites such as Wikipedia and Scholarpedia. Wikibooks are agile, highly adaptable websites typically used to present large amounts of information from multiple authors in a digestible, easily accessible and easily editable manner. The wikibook, JP Boyd on Family Law contains more than 120 webpages of substantive legal information, roughly 500 definitions of common legal words and phrases, links to hundreds of key government and non-government resources, and more than 100 downloadable forms for the British Columbia Supreme and Provincial Courts. In print format, the wikibook exceeds 650 pages.

The findings show that the wikibook is being accessed by both legal professionals and members of the public and that users believe the wikibook to be a reliable source of legal information, more helpful than other resources, easy to navigate, easy to understand and very informative. The findings also show that the wikibook has significant long-term effects, with respondents to the six-month survey stating that:

  • They know more about the law now than before accessing the wikibook
  • The information in the wikibook has improved their understanding of family law issues and the law in general and,
  • The wikibook has improved their understanding of the ways that family law issues are resolved.

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