How to Test wikiHow Articles

Because wikiHow is an instruction manual, there are various ways to check an article for accuracy. Usually the most accurate way is by doing a Google Search for the specific topic and read other articles online to compare them to the wikiHow instructions. You can read the article carefully and evaluate it based on common sense or personal experience. Or, you can try out the instructions and see what happens. It's a great way to improve an article, learn something, and share your experiences.


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    Choose an article to test. You can test any article that interests you, but the easiest ones are things with fairly concrete procedures rather than general advice.

    • Evaluate whether you have the means to test an article. If you're a city-dweller, you might not have occasion to stack very much hay, and buying a private island may be out of your price range. On the other hand, a bit of paper and string to test out a simple craft project might be fairly easy to obtain.
    • Choose something you already know how to do or something you wish to try. The perspective of an experienced person and that of a new learner are both important, since they will reveal different strengths and weaknesses in the article.

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    Read the article critically. Does it make sense as it is written? Does it match what you know about the subject? Does it seem consistent with whatever you have read elsewhere? Remember that wikiHow articles are written by volunteer editors, and some are more complete or correct than others.
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    Print out the article to have it for reference. You might also wish to have it available to mark up.
  4. 4
    Try the steps listed in the article. The purpose of testing an article is to do what the article says and see if you accomplish what you set out to do, so it is important that you actually do the steps.
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    Make notes along the way. Is a certain step confusing? Do you know of a better or easier way to accomplish a task? Was it very straightforward? Did the article assume you had too much or too little prior knowledge?
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    Take photographs. If you're trying the article anyway, it may be very easy to take photographs along the way and put them in the article to assist other readers.
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    Edit the article. Incorporate any improvements you can, whether they are grammar, accuracy, cleanup of style or clarity, or the addition of photos. You have just tried this procedure, so make it better based on your experience.
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    Flag the article. If you cannot improve an article sufficiently, or if you found an article that was too incomplete or confusing, place a template on the article page or on the talk page explaining what went wrong.
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    Report your results. On the talk page, state that you followed the article (or tried to) and explain what happened. Here are some possible outcomes, but you may wish to add your own.

    • It worked and all went well. If this is the case, report your findings as a stamp of approval and don't forget to thank the authors if you learned something. Post a photo of your success if you can, either on the talk page or in the article itself if there is none yet.
    • It worked or basically worked, but was incomplete or confusing. If you figured out the parts that were confusing, do your best to incorporate your findings into the article directly. If you didn't figure it out, flag the article appropriately and explain on the talk page as clearly as you can
    • It was too confusing, incomplete, or poor quality to follow. If this is the case, you may still be able to improve the article from your own experience or by researching the subject elsewhere. If it is beyond your ability to improve, however, flag the article appropriately and state your results in the talk page along with as much clear, constructive criticism as you can offer.


  • Go ahead and test an article that somebody has already tested. You may find things that others have missed, or you may simply have a different experience to share. Baking is not the same at a high altitude as it is at sea level. Even if you get exactly the same result as someone else, reporting the fact means that editors and readers can have confidence that the results are consistent.
  • Be as specific as you can if you are describing a problem in an article.
    • Not useful: "This article is terrible."
    • Somewhat useful: "Step 5 is confusing."
    • Much more useful: "It would be a lot more helpful if the part about using a chain stitch were broken down into smaller parts or even made into a separate article and linked. I don't think other beginners would know that stitch, either."
  • Photos are one of the best ways to demonstrate that you tested an article and that it works. They're also great for illustrating and clarifying the steps. Add photos if you can.
  • An article's editors may test their own articles. It always helps to have multiple testers, but if an author can honestly state that he or she did the project in the process of writing, it adds a measure of confidence.
  • It's perfectly all right to have multiple methods of achieving the same goal. You can list alternative methods that achieve the same outcome of an article or create a new article just for them.
  • If you can fix or improve any steps in an article, be bold and fix them!


  • Use common sense when testing an article. If something sounds wrong or dangerous, investigate further, proceed with caution, or simply choose a different article or method to test.
  • If the method described in the article sounds dangerous, you should nominate it for deletion.

Article Info

Categories: What You Can Do to Help | Writing and Editing