Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/The use of Wikipedia as an electoral analysis tool. Review of elections in presidential regimes (2015-2021)

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statusnot funded
The use of Wikipedia as an electoral analysis tool. Review of elections in presidential regimes (2015-2021)
start and end datesJune 2022 Start of investigation, March-June 2023 Dissemination and end of project
budget (USD)20,000-29,999 USD
applicant(s)• federizaguirre



Applicant's Wikimedia username. If one is not provided, then the applicant's name will be provided for community review.


Project title

The use of Wikipedia as an electoral analysis tool. Review of elections in presidential regimes (2015-2021)

Entity Receiving Funds

Provide the name of the individual or organization that would receive the funds.

  • Federico Izaguirre Gallardo
  • Catalina Solar Hurtado

Research proposal


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.

In a context of debate on ways to make election analysis, this research aims to broaden the framework of studies related to the amount of searches and virtual traffic produced during a given event. In this sense, Wikipedia has positioned itself as an alternative from the academic world on the contribution of the measurement of searches on this site compared to other more researched platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or GoogleTrends.

To date, the use of Wikipedia as a tool for predicting or analyzing elections has been incipiently reviewed. While predictive models are insufficient due to the inability to disaggregate searches by country, being found today by language, these have tended to focus on the US and Western Europe, with a strong knowledge gap around countries in other latitudes such as Latin America, Oceania and Africa. Furthermore, these studies have not considered the level of digital penetration that countries have, which can lead to errors regarding the true insertion of Wikipedia according to each country.

For this, a quantitative research will be carried out based on the development of an analytical model to examine Wikipedia traffic according to the level of digital penetration in each case. That is why, through data collected from Wikipedia, the effectiveness of these instruments will be reviewed in 39 countries with presidential systems between 2016 and 2021. In this sense, the amount of searches done will be analyzed, as well as other indicators obtained from the site. Page View Toolforge around 90, 30 and 7 day periods leading up to each election. This selection is justified because most of the selected countries have been omitted in this type of research. The chosen temporalities will allow a detailed review of the main patterns analyzed according to the time of distance to the election. As a result, it is expected to be able to obtain a description of the main trends regarding digital traffic in the different countries, as well as to review whether the digital penetration of the countries has an influence on these trends and their correlation with the electoral results of these countries.

Two central questions arise: What is the predictive capacity of Wikipedia's search volume for presidential elections? Is this supposed predictive capacity related to the country's digital penetration?


Approximate amount requested in USD.


Budget Description

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

Salary 16.800 USD: A monthly salary of USD 700 is considered for two researchers during the 12 months of the project.

Benefits 3.000 USD: This item considers travel expenses regarding the presentation of the research in international academic instances

Open access publication costs 1.500 USD: A publication in an open access journal is considered.


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.

This project is framed around the ability to promote the use of information as a service. Along these lines, we articulate our research based on one of the 2018-2020 recommendations: Identify topics of impact, about the role of the information provided by Wikimedia and the behavior of users in election time. This will allow Wikimedia to know information related to how the big data generated can deliver analytical tools at the academic level.

This study points to a knowledge gap identified in the Gap Taxonomy; In terms of content, an attempt will be made to cover, on the one hand, the geographic representation gap, focusing mainly on countries in Africa, Oceania and Latin America.


Plans for dissemination.

We consider applying to academic bodies such as “2022 APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition” and “27th IPSA World Congress” that allow us both to publicize the topic and to receive feedback from research peers. In addition to the aforementioned face-to-face instances, they will apply to participate in at least three other congresses or virtual seminars. We also consider the application to formal scientific dissemination media as free access journals.

Past Contributions

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.

Federico Izaguirre has published research on free access platforms focused on the accessibility of judicial information and political parties and participates as a Wikipedian, having completed the course ""21st Century Skills in Action: Digital Citizenship and Wikimedia projects"". While Catalina Solar has an investigation in the process of publication in a free access digital medium related to the energy transition and social cohesion. Both researchers have participated in various academic projects and forums aimed at disseminating scientific knowledge.

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