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Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Assessing the perceived usefulness of Wikimedia projects as an academic Tool among academic staff in East African Universities

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statusnot funded
Assessing the perceived usefulness of Wikimedia projects as an academic Tool among academic staff in East African Universities
start and end datesJuly 2023 - July 2024
budget (USD)34500 USD
fiscal year2022-23
applicant(s)• Caroline Ilako



Caroline Ilako

Affiliation or grant type

Makerere University


Caroline Ilako

Wikimedia username(s)

Project title

Assessing the perceived usefulness of Wikimedia projects as an academic Tool among academic staff in East African Universities

Research proposal[edit]


Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.

The majority of university Libraries in East Africa contribute towards the e‐resources subscriptions at discounts offered through the consortia negotiations. Currently, university libraries are faced with budget cuts and many are struggling to meet their part of the bargain. Most users are relying on the use of open-access resources to address their information needs. Wikimedia tools are among the many open resources used. The role of Wikimedia in the education system is understandably a source of much debate and disagreement. Some educators have praised its educational value—in promoting digital literacy. On the other hand, its use is not seen to be widely accepted by the majority of the academic staff mainly because of the contention on the quality and source of information therein (Selwyn & Gorard, 2016).

Academic staff discourage students from citing information got from any Wikimedia sources yet, the growing literature on students' information behaviour, states that online media are part of a larger information landscape and therefore teachers are argued to promote its use among students (Harouni, 2009). These debates should be placed in the context of the emerging research evidence on the dynamics of faculty’s use of digital technology in education. And perhaps their wider information-seeking practices and use of online media which is a broader network for information access should be evaluated. The evaluation of Wikimedia projects from the academic staff perspective is important for providing information relevant to bridging the access gap caused by the high subscription fees imposed on e-resources affecting mainly users in Low income countries. No study has been conducted in East Africa on Wikimedia use involving academic staff. The aim of this study will be to assess the perceived usefulness of Wikimedia projects among academic staff in East African Universities (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi). The following questions will guide the study

1:To establish what extent of Wikimedia tools are being used and for what purposes.

2: What role do academic staff play in the use of Wikimedia tools?

3: How do academic staff perceive the usefulness of Wikimedia as an academic tool?

These questions will be answered using a mixed-method approach; survey questionnaires will be conducted among the target population and follow-up individual interviews with volunteer participants from the survey sample.


  • Irene Mbawaki-researcher
  • Osamai Moses -Research assistant
  • Ochieng Anthony- Research assistant
  • Birthilde Uwamwezi-Researcher (Rwanda)
  • Zawedde Agnes -Research assistant


Approximate amount requested in USD.

34500 USD

Budget Description

Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).

Budget Item Amount ($)

Project personnel (6) 6000

Administrative costs 5000

Institutional review

board preparation 1500

Data collection Travel/per diem,

facilitation for participants

(5 countries) 10000

Data analysis software

(Atlas ti and SPSS 200

Dissemination(Conferences) 5000

Publishing costs 3500

Institutional Overheads 4500

Total 34,500


Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.

The use of Wikimedia varies with different expectations, in an environment with varying literacy traditions, and reading practices, and the context in which the Wikimedia projects are perceived, assessing academic staff perceived usefulness and use of these projects will provide first had experience within which Wikimedia foundation can harness its project coverage and awareness.

Understanding the role and perception of staff about the different Wikimedia projects will provide a practical approach towards improving representation and diversity of Wikimedia communities to include academic staff in creation of high quality information hence narrowing the knowledge gap.


Plans for dissemination.

As an academic librarian, I am expected to disseminate any research findings at National, regional and international conferences. I intend to present the findings of this study in Uganda Library Association meetings, Africa Library and Information Association (AFLIA) gathering and International Federation of Library Associations or any other Wikimedia foundation gatherings.

I also intend to publish the research findings in one of the peer-reviewed journals for a more wider dissemination.

Past Contributions[edit]

Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.


I agree to license the information I entered in this form excluding the pronouns, countries of residence, and email addresses under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. I understand that the decision to fund this Research Fund application, the application itself along with all the information entered by my in this form excluding the pronouns, country of residences, and email addresses of the personnel will be published on Wikimedia Foundation Funds pages on Meta-Wiki and will be made available to the public in perpetuity. To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, I agree that any output of my research will comply with the WMF Open Access Policy. I also confirm that I have read the privacy statement and agree to abide by the WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.