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Research:Master Thesis Cultural differences in motivations to contribute to Wikipedia

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This page documents a completed research project.

Key Personnel

  • Sjarlot Stal
  • Nick Geurts

Project Summary


For our Master Thesis we are conducting a research study in which we are investigating if there are cultural differences apparent in the motivations to contribute to Wikipedia and if these differences are also apparent in the Wikipedia country version in general.What is different from previous studies on motivations for contributions to Wikipedia is that this study focuses on the cultural differences between the countries Germany, Netherlands, France, United States and Britain.



In order to gain insight in the motivations behind contributions we need the help of Wikipedia Users and therefore need to contact them. Our goal is to contact members in a responsible way and ensuring that their data will be confidential en anonymous. We are contacting Wikipedia members firstly via the mailinglist of the Wikipedia Country. For instance the german wikipedia mail list WikiDE-I. We will only distribute the email once with this mailinglist. Secondly we will randomly select active members using the active members page listed on the Wikipedia site of the specific country. We will then post an invitation to our survey, that will take about 5 minutes to complete. If a user chooses to not respond we will not contact them again.

Wikimedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection


All information provided will be treated confidential and not be used for commercial use.

Benefits for the Wikimedia community


The output of this research will be used in our Master thesis, and a summary of the thesis will be provided to members who wish to have them->


  1. May- June- distributing the survey using thesis tools to the mailing list and user page
  2. June- collecting data
  3. July- Analyzing results and completing thesis

An example of the survey can be found here: http://www.thesistools.com/web/?id=275775. Different language versions are made for the different countries