Friday, May 17, 2013

Study Sample

 The first group of individuals I plan to study will be the Wikipedia editing community in India. This editing community consists of the various members of the English language and the Indic language editing communities. This is a relatively large population, though there is significant overlap between the English language and Indic language community members as many editors edit in both English and Indic languages. As the first objective in my research is to generate a better understanding of the composition of the Indian editing community, the data that I gather from this population will contribute significantly to my analysis of whose voices are heard and whose voices are missing in the editing communities in India.

I have selected twenty communities to work with: the English language editing community and 19 Indic language1 communities. I selected these communities based on their accessibility (whether or not they could be contacted via a mailing list, Village pump and/or community page) as well as their inclusion in the official list of Indic language editing communities2 created by the Centre for Internet and Society (whose Access to Knowledge team is currently working as the India Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation). I have chosen not to include the Sanskrit Wikipedia community in this population as Sanskrit is not a spoken language nor is it the language of any particular ethnic identity in India. The participants will not be selected; instead, they will be invited to participate in a survey via their mailing lists, Village Pumps and Community page, and the respondents will be included in the research. The requests for participation and the surveys will be translated in to the various Indic languages.

The second group of individuals I plan to study are current female Indian editors of Wikipedia from either the English editing community or the Indic community (or, as is most probable, both). These women will be my main research subjects, as their experiences and stories will help me answer a significant number of my research questions listed under my second research objective. These participants will be invited to be interviewed on the survey as well as through the mailing lists, Village Pumps and community pages.

The third population I plan to gather data from is a non-contributor population (individuals who do not currently edit Wikipedia); specifically, I've chosen to survey EITHER individuals that have edited Wikipedia in the past, but stopped doing so more than six months ago OR a community of potential past editors as well as those who have never edited. I am not certain which community I will choose to study at this point in time, as I am not certain if I will be able to access my potential community of individuals who were once editors but stopped. No matter which group I choose, however, their significance to my research will be the same. It is very important that I gather data from a non-contributor population, as their responses will help to highlight those barriers that are the most hindering to and/or difficult to overcome for women's participation in the editing of Wikipedia.

If I am able to gain access to this population, I plan to do research on the students who were involved in the India Education Program Pune Pilot Project3 that was carried out by the Wikimedia India Chapter in 2011. These students were required to edit Wikipedia as a part of a course at the university or college. I plan to gain access to them through the individuals who helped organize and run the Pune Pilot Project. They will be asked to participate in a questionnaire via their email addresses, and the respondents will be included in the research.
However, if I am not able to access this population, I plan to gather data from various Indian communities related to openness (open access, open data, open educational resources, etc.), as these individuals will most likely be quite knowledgeable about Wikipedia but may or may not be involved. Again, they will be asked to participate in a questionnaire through their community mailing lists, and the respondents will be included in the research.

1 Assamese, Bengali, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Newar (Nepal Bhasa), Odia, Pali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu
2 This list can be found on one of the Centre for Internet and Society's Access to Knowledge Meta-Wiki pages at this link:
3 This project was an attempt to engage students and professors in the Wikipedia editing process and increase the number of editors in India by using Wikipedia as a teaching tool and assigning Wikipedia editing as an assignment for various courses. A report on this project can be found here:

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