Research:Beyond the Gender Gap: Understanding Women's Participation in Wikipedia
Existing research on the Wikipedia gender gap has provided insight into the broad landscape of Wikipedia editorship trends, although it has not examined the gender gap in depth, nor explored subtle processes and other factors within the Wikipedia world that may influence women’s participation. Furthermore, much of the media commentary and academic research on the Wikipedia gender gap has (indirectly or directly) attributed the gap to “female lack”—lack of confidence, knowledge, or technical skills. However, very little research has explored women's experiences within Wikipedia culture. Thus, this project aims to look within Wikipedia at sociocultural norms that affect women’s experiences and participation. Specifically, through interviewing women Wikipedia editors, this study seeks the lived experiences of Wikipedia women editors in order cultivate a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how women’s participation shapes and is shaped by the Wikipedia community. This study also seeks the perspectives of women editors on the gender gap itself (i.e. probable causes, effects, solutions) in order to generate strategies for reform that are shaped by women editors' insights and experiences.
This project seeks interviews of approximately 30 women who have been actively editing the of the English language Wikipedia for 2+ years. Recruitment for this study includes calls posted on mailing lists, Facebook groups, as well as snowball sampling (seeking referrals from participants). If you are a woman English Wikipedia editor interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2015 - August 2016
Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research
This project has been approved by the Purdue University Institutional Review Board on November 12, 2015. Individuals interested in participating in the study will be provided an information sheet with details regarding confidentiality, consent, etc.