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Grants:IEG/Women and Wikipedia/Timeline

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Timeline for Women and Wikipedia[edit]

Timeline Date
IEG Start Date 9 June 2014
Registered for Wikimania 2014; booked travel 16 June 2014
Institutional Review Board (IBR) Human Subjects Exemption Approval Received 14 July 2014
Attend Wikimania (Conduct interviews, observations, focus groups; participate in Learning Day) 4-12 August 2014
Complete interviews and transcriptions August 2014
Download and analyze Gendergap mailing list archive; set-up and start independent study course with student coders September 2014
Create and release online survey; code data from Gendergap mailing list archive; present preliminary findings at the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium October 2014
Continue to code interview transcripts, mailing list data, and analyze survey responses November 2014
Decide whether to host a second independent study to continue coding mailing list data; do necessary paperwork for independent study; do social network analysis of selected fields for all posts from Feb 2011-August 2014 December 2014
Analyze and review coding of 9 months of the Gendergap mailing list; do social network analysis of selected fields (e.g., from, date, subject, message id) for all posts from Feb 2011-August 2014; assist Monika Sengul-Jones in planning a critical, feminist Wikipedia edit-a-thon to be hosted at the University of Washington on February 14 January 2015
Continue preliminary analysis of data; work with UW student EnaMarks to compile raw data and summary of findings for final report; co-hosting I Love To You Critical Edit-a-thon with Monika Sengul-Jones on 2/14 February 2015

Monthly updates[edit]

Please prepare a brief project update each month, in a format of your choice, to share progress and learnings with the community along the way. Submit the link below as you complete each update.

June 2014[edit]

As my IEG start date was June 9, most of the month was dedicated to getting the project up and running. I received the first of the IEG funds disbursement on June 13, and then registered for and booked travel to Wikimania. I've continued my interviews, completing two in June, and have reached out to community groups and members via user pages and mailing lists to engage more participants. I was pleased and humbled to be interviewed for the Signpost in June as well. Tony1 did a fantastic job of summarizing a complex research issue and of increasing visibility. I've drafted an IRB application and am awaiting approval so that I might publish findings outside of the Wikipedia community as well. I've also spent a lot of time thinking about how I might centralize the disparate and dispersed information about Wikipedia's gender gap and have been closely following the recent shift in conversation on the Gendergap mailing list.

I've posted an update to the WMF blog here.

July 2014[edit]

During July, I continued interviews and drafted questions for my survey. I also met with a WMF intern to discuss different tools and ways of accessing data. One thing I learned during this time is that the nature of how to go about research on Wikipedia is almost constantly a subject of discussion and that, although Wikipedia is transparent in many ways, the data can be difficult to locate. I've included these observations in my field notes.

August 2014[edit]

The highlight of August was attending Wikimania in London. During Wikimania, I participated in Learning Day and presented an overview of my IEG. I also conducted seven individual interviews and one group interview. Unfortunately, I was not able to conduct a large focus group as planned. I had not anticipated how much "mania" was involved in Wikimania and scheduling proved difficult. To date, I have conducted 29 interviews. I will be conducting a follow-up interview with one participant whom I met at Wikimania and then two additional interviews. Due to timing, I will not conduct any additional interviews after these unless follow-up interviews with specific participants are needed.

At Wikimania, I was also able to attend several sessions related to the gender gap, including Creative Ways to Alienate Women Online and the diversity workshop Gender Gap Strategy in Action. Being a participant observer expanded my understanding of the Wikipedia community in general--in ways I hadn't anticipated--and also helped me to gain a better perspective of how various members of the community think about and have attempted to address the gender gap.

During August, I also downloaded the archived Gendergap mailing list data (February 2011 to August 2014). I'm currently working on developing a codebook for this data so that it can be coded by a team of undergraduate and graduate students beginning late September. In addition to analyzing the interview transcripts and the Gendergap mailing list data, I am drafting a survey that I will deploy via Qualtrics in early October. I have posted information about the survey on my research project page.

September 2014[edit]

During September, I filed the paperwork for, advertised, and started an independent study with a small group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Washington to analyze the Wikimedia Gender gap mailing list archives. The following text was used as the call for the class:

Are you interested in understanding how differences in gender are expressed through mailing lists, forums, Wikipedia, and open source projects? Are you interested in Wikipedia research? Are you interested in :gaining qualitative data analysis experience for 2 credits? During the Fall quarter, as a part of an ongoing research project supported by a Wikimedia Foundation Individual Engagement Grant (IEG), we will be :analyzing over three years of data from a Wikipedia mailing list. If you’d like to learn how to code and analyze qualitative data, please join us!
To earn credit, you will be expected to:
  • Attend training sessions during the first two weeks of the quarter
  • Read and apply codes to the months assigned to you
  • Attend weekly team meetings (day and time TBD) to discuss progress and codes.

I received over 30 responses and accepted 8 students. Two students dropped the independent study after two weeks, so our team consisted of 6 students (5 women and 1 man; 5 undergraduates and 1 graduate; 3 native English speakers and 3 non-native English speakers). After introducing the students to Wikipedia and a sample of existing research and popular sources regarding the "gender gap," I introduced the students to qualitative coding and the codebook I had created based on my interviews. We trained for two weeks so that we could discuss the appropriateness of each code and reach consensus regarding use. We then began our coding.

Due to time constraints, in late September I decided to have the students code 9 months of the 43 I had downloaded from the Gender gap mailing list archives (February 2011 - August 2014). I chose 3 months in the beginning, 3 months in the middle, and 3 months at the end. In addition to coding these 9 months, I will be extracting the From, Date, Subject, and Message ID fields from all of the archived list so that we can perform a kind of social network analysis.

Thus, September was dedicated to establishing the team, time, and training for coding the Gender gap mailing list archives. Part of the impact of this IEG is that there are now 6 students who have become interested in Wikipedia research and the "gender gap."

In September, I also submitted my midpoint report.

October 2014[edit]

During October, I continued working with the qualitative coding team, created and activated a survey, and continued my analysis of the interviews I completed earlier this year and at Wikimania London. With my co-author Ingrid Erickson, I presented preliminary findings from this study at the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium at The University of Toronto (October 18, 2014). The abstract is available via http://litwinbooks.com/2014agenda.php.

November 2014[edit]

I continued working with the qualitative coding team, collected data from the online survey, and continued my analysis of the interviews I completed earlier this year and at Wikimania London. I also submitted a rebuttal for a CHI 2015 note Ingrid Erickson and I wrote about preliminary findings from this study.

December 2014[edit]

During late November and December, I continued facilitating the independent study group with student coders.

January 2015[edit]

Is your final report due but you need more time?

Extension request[edit]

New end date[edit]

April 1, 2015. I would complete my project for my IEG and submit my final report on April 1, 2015.


If approved, I would be able to provide a more thorough analysis of all three data sources (i.e., 30 interview transcripts, the mailing list archives, and the survey). I would also be able to conduct follow-up interviews with select participants. Because I am also pursuing my PhD and my coders are students, I'd like to request another quarter (Winter quarter ends March 20, 2015). Three of my students have already asked if they might take the same independent study in the Winter and continue to code the Gender gap mailing list archives because they have become invested in the research questions and in the conversations. The "gender gap" is a complex issue, and I believe I am making progress in better understanding nuances of the issue; however, I also believe I need more time.

If my request isn't approved, I will continue my research regarding Wikipedia and the "gender gap," but I will be less tied to reporting my findings via WMF and the community than via academic venues. This is unfortunate but true--as prioritizing one's career is understandable. However, continuing to work closely with the Foundation and the community provides a sense of accountability which I believe benefits me, the research, and the community, too.

Extension approved[edit]

Hi, I'm approving this request for an additional quarter, based on the above rationale - looking forward to seeing a thorough analysis of use to the community. Your final report will now be due on April 1, 2015. Please update your timeline page and monthly reports accordingly :) Best wishes, Siko (WMF) (talk) 18:09, 14 November 2014 (UTC)