Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

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Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Benjamin Keith Johnson
Hi all,

I'm completing a Master's thesis in Telecommunication, Information Studies
and Media at Michigan State University.  My topic is, of course, Wikipedia.  
You may have seen my advertisement for research subjects on the wikipedia-l
list or at the Village Pump.  I'm doing in-depth interviews with
contributors... basically my perspective is Wikipedia as a public good and
"why" individuals contribute, following the work of Olson; Ostrom; Kollock &
Smith; Bimber, Flanagin, & Stohl; Forte & Bruckman; and others.

I've already received several queries regarding the limitation of
interviewees to U.S. residents.  Frankly, it's an IRB restriction, and the
decision was made that excluding other English speakers is not a liability
in a small, purposive sample.

I'd be interested in any comments or feedback, and am willing to entertain
questions.  Thanks, and have a great night!

 -------------------------
Benjamin Johnson
MA Student in Information, Policy and Society
Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media
428 Communication Arts and Sciences
East Lansing, MI 48824
Cell: 517.230.1272
[hidden email]



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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
I would love to understand the arguments how excluding English speakers from outside the US does not have a detrimental effect on the quality of this study when the study is to understand the motivation of contributors to the English language Wikipedia.
Thanks,
     GerardM

On 3/21/07, Benjamin Keith Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all,

I'm completing a Master's thesis in Telecommunication, Information Studies
and Media at Michigan State University.  My topic is, of course, Wikipedia.
You may have seen my advertisement for research subjects on the wikipedia-l
list or at the Village Pump.  I'm doing in-depth interviews with
contributors... basically my perspective is Wikipedia as a public good and
"why" individuals contribute, following the work of Olson; Ostrom; Kollock &
Smith; Bimber, Flanagin, & Stohl; Forte & Bruckman; and others.

I've already received several queries regarding the limitation of
interviewees to U.S. residents.  Frankly, it's an IRB restriction, and the
decision was made that excluding other English speakers is not a liability
in a small, purposive sample.

I'd be interested in any comments or feedback, and am willing to entertain
questions.  Thanks, and have a great night!

-------------------------
Benjamin Johnson
MA Student in Information, Policy and Society
Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media
428 Communication Arts and Sciences
East Lansing, MI 48824
Cell: 517.230.1272
[hidden email]



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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Jean-Baptiste Soufron-2
In reply to this post by Benjamin Keith Johnson
Well I worked on Wikipedia a lot, and I already wrote a few papers.  
Most of them are in French, but I can translate a few things. Anyway,  
I would be happy to exchange with you.

Best,

Jean-Baptiste Soufron
cersa-cnrs paris 2

Le 21 mars 07 à 00:00, Benjamin Keith Johnson a écrit :

> Hi all,
>
> I'm completing a Master's thesis in Telecommunication, Information  
> Studies
> and Media at Michigan State University.  My topic is, of course,  
> Wikipedia.
> You may have seen my advertisement for research subjects on the  
> wikipedia-l
> list or at the Village Pump.  I'm doing in-depth interviews with
> contributors... basically my perspective is Wikipedia as a public  
> good and
> "why" individuals contribute, following the work of Olson; Ostrom;  
> Kollock &
> Smith; Bimber, Flanagin, & Stohl; Forte & Bruckman; and others.
>
> I've already received several queries regarding the limitation of
> interviewees to U.S. residents.  Frankly, it's an IRB restriction,  
> and the
> decision was made that excluding other English speakers is not a  
> liability
> in a small, purposive sample.
>
> I'd be interested in any comments or feedback, and am willing to  
> entertain
> questions.  Thanks, and have a great night!
>
>  -------------------------
> Benjamin Johnson
> MA Student in Information, Policy and Society
> Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media
> 428 Communication Arts and Sciences
> East Lansing, MI 48824
> Cell: 517.230.1272
> [hidden email]
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l


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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Andrea Forte

Hey Benjamin,

Wha..? Your IRB won't let you interview English speakers who are non-US residents? Would you mind explaining their logic?

Andrea


On 3/21/07, Jean-Baptiste Soufron <[hidden email]> wrote:
Well I worked on Wikipedia a lot, and I already wrote a few papers.
Most of them are in French, but I can translate a few things. Anyway,
I would be happy to exchange with you.

Best,

Jean-Baptiste Soufron
cersa-cnrs paris 2

Le 21 mars 07 à 00:00, Benjamin Keith Johnson a écrit :

> Hi all,
>
> I'm completing a Master's thesis in Telecommunication, Information
> Studies
> and Media at Michigan State University.  My topic is, of course,
> Wikipedia.
> You may have seen my advertisement for research subjects on the
> wikipedia-l
> list or at the Village Pump.  I'm doing in-depth interviews with
> contributors... basically my perspective is Wikipedia as a public
> good and
> "why" individuals contribute, following the work of Olson; Ostrom;
> Kollock &
> Smith; Bimber, Flanagin, & Stohl; Forte & Bruckman; and others.
>
> I've already received several queries regarding the limitation of
> interviewees to U.S. residents.  Frankly, it's an IRB restriction,
> and the
> decision was made that excluding other English speakers is not a
> liability
> in a small, purposive sample.
>
> I'd be interested in any comments or feedback, and am willing to
> entertain
> questions.  Thanks, and have a great night!
>
>  -------------------------
> Benjamin Johnson
> MA Student in Information, Policy and Society
> Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media
> 428 Communication Arts and Sciences
> East Lansing, MI 48824
> Cell: 517.230.1272
> [hidden email]
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l


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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

alain_desilets
In reply to this post by Benjamin Keith Johnson
You are missing Andrea Forte in your list of references.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email]
> [mailto:[hidden email]] On
> Behalf Of Benjamin Keith Johnson
> Sent: March 20, 2007 7:00 PM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [Wiki-research-l] Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia
>
> Hi all,
>
> I'm completing a Master's thesis in Telecommunication,
> Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University.  
> My topic is, of course, Wikipedia.  
> You may have seen my advertisement for research subjects on
> the wikipedia-l list or at the Village Pump.  I'm doing
> in-depth interviews with contributors... basically my
> perspective is Wikipedia as a public good and "why"
> individuals contribute, following the work of Olson; Ostrom;
> Kollock & Smith; Bimber, Flanagin, & Stohl; Forte & Bruckman;
> and others.
>
> I've already received several queries regarding the
> limitation of interviewees to U.S. residents.  Frankly, it's
> an IRB restriction, and the decision was made that excluding
> other English speakers is not a liability in a small,
> purposive sample.
>
> I'd be interested in any comments or feedback, and am willing
> to entertain questions.  Thanks, and have a great night!
>
>  -------------------------
> Benjamin Johnson
> MA Student in Information, Policy and Society
> Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media
> 428 Communication Arts and Sciences
> East Lansing, MI 48824
> Cell: 517.230.1272
> [hidden email]
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>

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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Benjamin Keith Johnson
In reply to this post by Andrea Forte
Hi Andrea,

Our IRB application here asks if research will be conducted with subjects in
another country, and doesn't provide for an "Internet" option like what's
provided for the research location, so non-U.S. resident was added to the
exclusion criteria.  Essentially, the process doesn't sufficiently reflect
the reality of doing research online.

Additionally, I am my own source of funding and prefer to do phone
interviews, so avoiding international phone call charges is also a practical
limitation on this research.

Obviously, I note all limitations on subject recruitment in my work.  But
for a small purposive sample, I didn't anticipate that this would be such a
controversial move within the Wikipedia community.  In hindsight, I can see
how motivations in users might vary across nationality with regard to issues
like the development of article NPOV, though.

Benjamin


Andrea Forte writes:

> Hey Benjamin,
>
> Wha..? Your IRB won't let you interview English speakers who are non-US
> residents? Would you mind explaining their logic?
>
> Andrea



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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Andrea Forte
*sigh* As though there weren't enough challenges in doing good
research on online communities! I sympathize.

Andrea


On 3/21/07, Benjamin Keith Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Andrea,
>
> Our IRB application here asks if research will be conducted with subjects in
> another country, and doesn't provide for an "Internet" option like what's
> provided for the research location, so non-U.S. resident was added to the
> exclusion criteria.  Essentially, the process doesn't sufficiently reflect
> the reality of doing research online.
>
> Additionally, I am my own source of funding and prefer to do phone
> interviews, so avoiding international phone call charges is also a practical
> limitation on this research.
>
> Obviously, I note all limitations on subject recruitment in my work.  But
> for a small purposive sample, I didn't anticipate that this would be such a
> controversial move within the Wikipedia community.  In hindsight, I can see
> how motivations in users might vary across nationality with regard to issues
> like the development of article NPOV, though.
>
> Benjamin
>
>
> Andrea Forte writes:
>
> > Hey Benjamin,
> >
> > Wha..? Your IRB won't let you interview English speakers who are non-US
> > residents? Would you mind explaining their logic?
> >
> > Andrea
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>

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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Benjamin Keith Johnson
Hoi,
Use skype if international phone call charges are an issue. Many people working on Wikipedia (and other wikis) use it intensively .. Welcome to this brave new world where telephone costs are very much "plain old telephone system" and many people have moved on...
Thanks,
     GerardM

On 3/21/07, Benjamin Keith Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrea,

Our IRB application here asks if research will be conducted with subjects in
another country, and doesn't provide for an "Internet" option like what's
provided for the research location, so non-U.S. resident was added to the
exclusion criteria.  Essentially, the process doesn't sufficiently reflect
the reality of doing research online.

Additionally, I am my own source of funding and prefer to do phone
interviews, so avoiding international phone call charges is also a practical
limitation on this research.

Obviously, I note all limitations on subject recruitment in my work.  But
for a small purposive sample, I didn't anticipate that this would be such a
controversial move within the Wikipedia community.  In hindsight, I can see
how motivations in users might vary across nationality with regard to issues
like the development of article NPOV, though.

Benjamin


Andrea Forte writes:

> Hey Benjamin,
>
> Wha..? Your IRB won't let you interview English speakers who are non-US
> residents? Would you mind explaining their logic?
>
> Andrea



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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Benjamin Keith Johnson
Benjamin Keith Johnson wrote:

>  In hindsight, I can see
> how motivations in users might vary across nationality with regard to issues
> like the development of article NPOV, though.

According to this (http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/pfeil.html)
recent paper, they certainly are important. I will echo Gerard and
suggest using Skype. As for IRB... they are evil, but hopefully you can
deal with them.

Good luck,

--
Piotr Konieczny

"The problem about Wikipedia is, that it just works in reality, not in
theory."

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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Dag Asheim
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
GerardM <[hidden email]> writes:

> Hoi,
> Use skype if international phone call charges are an issue. Many
> people working on Wikipedia (and other wikis) use it intensively ..

I am sympatethic towards using Skype (or equivalent more open
VoIP-standards) in general, but I'm afraid that setting Skype
communication as a requirement for participation for interviewing will
skew the respondents in much the same way that only interviewing US
residents would.

--
Dag Asheim
Linpro AS


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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
When you use Skype, this is true for several of the other VOIP clients on offer as well, you will find that some allow for calling to landlines in many countries. The rates are a vast improvement on what you pay with POTS. For some countries there are VOIP services that provide a gratis service ..

The second issue you raise; insistence on only foreign people who VOIP as a bias.. even if this is a bias, it is not of the same magnitude as US residents only. When it is considered difficult to send a voucher abroad, you can give people some "Skype out" credit in stead ...

Please explain why the selection of only Skype/VOIP users would be such a bad thing.

Thanks,
      GerardM

http://www.voipbuster.com/nl/index.html
http://skype.com/intl/nl/products/

On 3/22/07, Dag Asheim <[hidden email]> wrote:
GerardM <[hidden email]> writes:

> Hoi,
> Use skype if international phone call charges are an issue. Many
> people working on Wikipedia (and other wikis) use it intensively ..

I am sympatethic towards using Skype (or equivalent more open
VoIP-standards) in general, but I'm afraid that setting Skype
communication as a requirement for participation for interviewing will
skew the respondents in much the same way that only interviewing US
residents would.

--
Dag Asheim
Linpro AS


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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Dag Asheim
GerardM <[hidden email]> writes:

> Please explain why the selection of only Skype/VOIP users would be
> such a bad thing.

I agree that a study on Skype/VoIP users and their Wikipedia use could
be interesting in itself.  But I think it is wrong to assume that
Skype/VoIP users necessarily is a representative selection of
Wikipedia users overall.

I could guess that they are slightly more unafraid of new technology
than the average Wikipedian.  Perhaps they have a higher number of
foreign associates that they corresponds with regularly. Maybe they
have an lower salary (since they invest hours of testing and
experimenting to save relatively small amounts) - or maybe a higher
(since they are successful at installing new technology)?  I don't
know.  This could be an interesting study in itself.

My point is that this kind of pre-selection most likely will introduce
a bias into the results in one way or another.

--
Dag Asheim
Linpro AS


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Re: Thesis research at MSU on Wikipedia

Piotr Konieczny-2
Dag Asheim wrote:

> My point is that this kind of pre-selection most likely will introduce
> a bias into the results in one way or another.

Indeed, although without General User Survey this is only a speculation,
I believe that non-U.S. citizens form a very high minority (or even a
majority) of English Wikipedia editors (which is, more or less, the
International Wikipedia). To put it bluntly: a study that limits itself
only to U.S. citizens because of budgetary restrains will be very
significantly weakened. Please note that the cost of calling Skype to
practially any line (fixed or mobile) outside US equals US local call,
so seriously, budget should not be an issue (is there any way the
Fundation could give a 'grant' for ~50$ for the study purposes? :).


--
Piotr Konieczny

"The problem about Wikipedia is, that it just works in reality, not in
theory."

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