Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/Digging for Data: How to do Research Beyond Wikimetrics

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This was a draft for a blog post that has since been published at

Digging for Data: How to Research Beyond Wikimetrics[edit]


The next virtual meet-up will point out research tools. Join!!

For Learning & Evaluation, Wikimetrics is a powerful tool for pulling metrics data for wiki project user cohorts, such as edit counts, pages created and bytes added or removed. However, sometimes you may have different data questions in mind. For instance:

How many members of WikiProject Medicine have edited a medicine-related article in the past three months?
How many new editors have played The Wikipedia Adventure?
What are the most-viewed and most-edited articles about Women Scientists?

Questions like these and many others regarding the content of Wikimedia projects and the activities of editors and readers can be answered using tools developed by wikimedians all over the world. These gadgets, based on publicly-available data, rely on databases and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). They are maintained by volunteers and staff within our movement.

On July 16, Jonathan Morgan, research strategist for the Learning and Evaluation team and wiki-research veteran, will begin a three-part series to explore some of the different routes to accessing wikimedia data. Building off of several recent workshops including the Wiki Research Hackathon and a series of Community Data Science Workshops developed at the University of Washington, in Beyond Wikimetrics, Jonathan will guide participants on how to expand their wiki-research capabilities by accessing data directly through these tools.

Over the course of three virtual meet-ups, participants will:

  • Learn the basics of MySQL - A language used to pull data from the Wikimedia databases
  • Create a Wikimedia Labs account
  • Learn about features and limitations of community data resources and tools
  • Access data resources directly through Wikimedia APIs.
  • Gather data from various Wikimedia APIs

Whether you recently received an Individual Engagement Grant, coordinated programs for a chapter or user group, or just launched a new WikiProject, finding out how your initiative evolves might give you key information for its success. If you are a Wikimedia program and project leader who wants to evaluate efforts and impact; a Wikimedian researcher who have little or no previous programming experience, but need to work with data; or simply curious on how to explore data from Wikimedia page then these webinars are for you!

Understand your way through data.

These online sessions are a great way to gain technical skills, both in quantitative research and programming basics. The sessions are set to allow participants to follow along in pace with the host, so if you have some specific data questions you want to explore, be sure to have those ready for your personal exploration. No programming skills are needed.

Has this blogpost raised new questions? Do you have topics in mind you would like to discuss? Share them on the event page! Join us for the first Beyond Wikimetrics meet-up on Wednesday, July 16, at 3 pm UTC. Sign up through the PE&D Google+ page and stay tuned to our News page for links to event recordings and dates for sessions in August and September!

Update post-webinars:[edit]

Find all the documentation for the Wikiresearch webinars on the Evaluation portal on Meta. Follow this link to find the session's videos, presentations, examples and challenges developed for the series. Use the talk page to post follow up questions or challenges you may face using this tool. Enjoy your [wiki]research!

Note: Post was updated to include "update post-webinars" section on 2014-09-26.


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