If you are not a Fedora contributor, please do not take the survey.
All responses are anonymous, so please answer as honestly and thoroughly as you can! Only caveat is that you MUST be 18 years old or older to participate. It should only take 10 to 20 minutes to complete, unless you feel you have a lot to add to the open text areas, which from a researchers perspective, the more data the better!
Spread The Word!
Please repost this in your blogs or anywhere else you see fit!
Feel free to use the code below to incorporate the banner shown above:
<a href="http://cyberanthro.limequery.com/44899/lang-en" target="new"><img src="http://www.cyber-anthro.com/images/surveyresearchbanner.png"></a>
As always, if you have questions feel free to comment or contact me diana [@] cyber-anthro.com!
And of course a preemptive congrats to all your hard work on Fedora 13, only 8 days away!
So, in my last post I talked about coding and no I don’t mean coding as in scripting or writing programming code (though it is just as tedious), I’m talking about coding qualitative data.
For those non-anthropologist among my readers, what this amounts to is tagging subsections out of large amounts of textual data with a taxonomy you develop along the way. This taxonomy is based on the themes that emerge as you sift through all of the data. This, if done meticulously (as of course it is), can take quite a bit of time and requires a bit of resifting of the data to capture and tag everything correctly.
Speaking as not only an anthropologist, but also an information architect, I actually really like this part! It’s to anthropology what sifting through the dirt at a dig is to an archaeologist. Each time something unique emerges from the sand/data there is a little *squee* that occurs. Each bit is just as precious as the last no matter how big or small. We collect each and every one of these unique themes and catalog them for reference later.
What happens after all the sifting has been completed is actually very interesting for dataphiles like me. You can then select any tag you used and see all of the text among all of your data sources that matches that tag. Or, you can line up all your tags as see which tags show up most often. Consider doing that to your blog, or Delicious Bookmarks.
You can tell a lot about an avid Delicious user, or at least what interests them on the web, by looking at their tags as a whole and then at their most (and even least) used ones.
Tagging data and looking at the results of that process is very similar.
Basically, it is in a sense both organizing your qualitative data and quantifying it. As you can imagine, it’s very revealing!
How else do you quantify qualitative data? Well you make a survey of course! Why would you do that? Well it helps triangulate your data. In other words, it helps you generalize your qualitative findings against a broader sample in quantifiable terms.
In order to do this properly we take those themes that emerged through our coding or tagging process then use that data to form appropriate questions and answers to be asked of the same audience but on a larger scale. Thus, we use both qualitative and quantitative methods in the research process giving it both depth and validity.
Could you do one without the other? Well, of course you can and many anthropologists tend to prefer one over the other. I’ll not step into the qual vs quant debate here, except to say that it exists. What I will say is that the goal of the anthropologist is to approach research and the research questions from a holistic perspective. Using both methods, as I am doing here, helps to do this.
Why am I going into all of this detail? Well, if you’ve reached this point you are in for a special announcement! My survey has been approved by my committee and is now in the hands of the IRB for review. Once they approve it, I’ll be releasing it to all Fedora contributors to participate in.
It is about 28 questions (depending on how you answer) and will take most people less than 10 minutes to fill out. I say most, because I do give you places for long text descriptions if you so desire, so those people who have a lot to contribute may take a little longer. From my perspective, the more data the better!
I have lofty hopes of getting about 100 of you excited enough to participate. So, once I release it, I will need the help of all of the Fedora contributors that read this to pass it along and to tell those people you pass it along to, to pass it along as well!
An interesting side note to the survey is that it was created with the free and open source LimeSurvey! So, by taking it you’re not only helping Fedora, but you’re also supporting a pretty cool FLOSS project!
During the process of creating the survey I’ve become quite the LimeSurvey user. So, if anyone needs help with it, please feel free to ping me. When I’m done with this project I may even find a way to lend some of my user interface design and usability skills to the LimeSurvey project, if they want them. I have a few ideas that could make it a bit easier to use after having been a user myself.
I honestly cannot wait to get the survey out and start getting the data back. This part of the process is always so exciting!
It’s only a flesh wound!
I mean, that’s how the last month of the semester should start out right? Biting knees and all that jazz…
*Shout! Shout! Let it all out!* <--- Typed this out while listening to Disturbed over Pandora just now. Live blogging baby! So, back to the task at hand. Why yes, it is the last month of the last semester of my Masters. Though this is in fact the truth, I will not actually be graduating until this summer. Why? Well, my professor and I both agree that my practicum work is just so cool that it deserves a more in depth analysis in order to do it and all of my participants in it justice. This is why I've been talking with a few of you in the Fedora community back and forth for the last month or so and why I'm in IRC almost every day! This is also why I need those interviews back! If you'd rather complete the interviews over IRC than email please ping me! I've already done a few others that way, so I don't mind doing it that way if you're more comfortable with it. 🙂 Additionally, this is why I have not been blogging as much lately. I've been consumed with Atlas.ti - then of course my Windows partition (it only runs on Windows) on my Mac (only machine I have that will run a large enough installation of Windows to install Atlas.ti) crashing and eating my installation / HU with it, which required me to redo EVERYTHING all over again. Now I'm just waiting on the last 2 interviews to come back. This way I can code them and add them to my extended analysis, which is going to be used to verify whether or not I've covered everything in the survey questions I've come up with. If so, well then I should be releasing a survey to everyone soon! If not, well then I'll be filling in the gaps and then submitting another change request to the IRB so I can have permission to send the survey out. It's also why my brain is kinda mushy at the moment. Other things contributing to the mush are my grant writing class, my job where I am the ONLY user interface / user experience designer, and getting setup to start my PhD in the fall (which is a LOT of work!). So really, this is just a plea to those I've already badgered a few times to get back to me with your completed interviews as soon as you can! What's fun about this stage is finding all of the themes that are appearing in the data from the interviews. Fedora, you're an interesting lot of people! Yes, I really do love what I do!
I was talking in #fedora-mktg with Mel Chua today about my dilemma of finding a count of currently active Fedora Project contributors. So she whipped up a twill script in python to get a count on contributions based on FAS authenticated activity.
So here is a challenge to you other hackers, can you find a way to do this better? And, can you do it by Friday?
During this next part of my research process I will be posting a survey available to all Fedora contributors. Luckily, this part of the participation process requires no signatures! So, those of you who were unable to participate in the interview process* will be able to easily participate in the survey portion as it is completely electronic.
The long and short of surveys is the quantitative statistical analysis that can be performed on them. The purpose of my survey is to help triangulate the data obtained during the qualitative (interview/participant observation) portion of my research against a broader sample that is more representative of the overall community. However, in order to do this properly I need to know how big the current overall community is.
This is where I need your help. I need you, Fedora Project contributors, to help me find ways to get at least an approximate count of currently active and contributing participants that can be verified by some means. This could be getting the number for how many people own packages in Rawhide or even how many people have edited the wiki in the past 6 months. Being that not everyone owns packages or edits the Wiki, we need ways to count the other contributors as well. Also, there is likely some overlap between several countable contributing groups so we need to keep issues like that under consideration. I understand that it will be difficult to come up with an exact number, so a close approximation will suffice as long as we have ways to support how we got the numbers and they are verifiable.
Not only will we need to ways to get the numbers, but also the people who are able to access that data and get it to me. So, if you come up with an idea but have no knowledge of how to actually get the data in question, feel free to brainstorm on this post with other people! I imagine that by working together we can quickly and easily come up with ways to figure this out. I’ll be hanging out in IRC as always, so feel free to ping me there or email me if you have ideas, questions, or numbers you wish to donate to the cause.
Once we have a number, then I can come up with a quota and will be able to release the survey!
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much for helping me out with this process. 🙂
*If you still want to participate in the interview process and have the ability to return your signature to me electronically (print/scan, fax, xournal, signing with a mouse) then please contact me diana [@] cyber-anthro.com.
Research design in anthropology is a tricky thing. It is the part of the process you do before you do anything else, and thus you do before you have any real sense of the situation in which you will be researching and the people with which you will be working. It is the place where you lay down the questions to be answered, setup ways in which you will attempt to answer them, try and anticipate all of the ins and outs of the process as well as all the steps necessary to be taken with all of the stakeholders, which in my case includes my client, my masters committee, and my university IRB.
Then you get into the project and start your research, and only then do you start to realize and understand what you’ve got yourself into and just how many things you didn’t anticipate. So far with this project, being a cyber anthropological based research study (all of the research is being conducted online), my problems have all centered around technology.
My first limitation was understanding the process to get my blog on the Fedora Planet blogroll. With help and some ‘hacking the system’ I got on and while at FUDcon I figured out why it didn’t work in the first place (I wasn’t a part of enough groups!).
Now I am realizing my second limitation, that of requiring a signed piece of paper from all interview participants before each interview can commence. Pen and paper is perhaps one of the oldest forms of communication and technology known to man and yet it is the one thing standing between me an several potential interviews.
This was not a hindrance I anticipated when designing my research study, and it is perhaps not something with which people who are not researching under a university have to deal. However, it is something I now realize is important and am bringing attention to in case there are others embarking on similar research studies with similar IRB limitations that require them to have signed consent forms so they can account for this process in their research design.
Were I to design a similar project in the future under the same IRB limitations, I would ask my IRB to approve an electronic encrypted signature on my consent forms.
Here’s to hoping someone out there can learn from my mistakes!
That all being said, if you have a means for returning a signed document to me electronically and you would like to be interviewed for the Fedora research project, but have yet to contact me please do so soon! All interviews will be wrapped up (as best they can) by Friday!
If you would like to participate in the interview portion of the Fedora research project I am current conducting, please visit my informational post on it here!
I need at least 10 more willing participants by the end of next week. The most convenient way of participating for all involved so far has been through email. So if you have a little time and wouldn’t mind answering a few questions about your participation in Fedora via email, please let me know!
If you need alternative means of signing the informed consent documents, please note that you can sign it via a tablet as well as via fax (just email me for the fax number), rather than being restricted to having scan your forms in and send them to me.
After some great suggestions provided by a couple of people on alternative FLOSS tools for conducting interviews online, I thought I would ask the community if there were any preferred web based FLOSS survey tools available?
I’ll be constructing a survey based on the interview results by the middle of February. So, I would like to get started on the construction of it as soon as possible. If you know of any, and especially if you have used any please let me know.
I look forward to your suggestions!
I hope you all are enjoying the new year. I had so much fun at FUDcon getting to know as many people as I could and participating in your wonderful Barcamp and Hackfest. You were all very welcoming and showed much welcome interest in my research project.
Now, it’s time to start ramping up my research again as the spring semester gets into full swing. I’ve prepared a short FAQ to refresh your memories, and/or introduce myself to those who haven’t heard of the project before.
I’m looking for research contributors!
I am looking for people who would like to participate in the study by being interviewed. These interviews will take place over IRC [Freenode]/email/IM/Skype/Phone/Video Chat or even face-to-face if you are local to the DFW Texas area!
All you need to do to qualify is be a Fedora contributor. I am looking for interviews from everyone including but not limited to: developers, ambassadors, designers, QA people, documentation people, and sys admins. This list also includes those who work directly for Red Hat.
The interview process will take at least 1 hour depending on how fast you type, and could potentially last longer.
Here is my informed consent notice:
Informed Consent Notice
The purpose of this research study is to learn more about the development of open source software in an online environment by asking about your experiences and opinions related to working within the Fedora Project community. You are being asked to participate in an online interview that will take about 1 hour of your time. Answering the questions in the interview involves no foreseeable risks. While there are not likely to be direct benefits to you for your participation, it is expected that the results of this study will assist my client, Red Hat/Fedora by helping to reduce turnover and provide ways to better accommodate current community participants as well as identifying ways to attract new talent to the project. Participation is voluntary and you may stop at any time without penalty. By answering the interview questions you are giving consent to participate and confirming that you are at least 18 years old. Results of the interview will be reported only on a group basis.
If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact master’s in applied anthropology candidate, Diana Harrelson Martin, at diana [@] cyber-anthro.com / 214-405-5355, or Dr. Christina Wasson, Department of Anthropology at (940) 565-2752. This project has been reviewed and approved by the University of North Texas Institutional Review Board (IRB). You may contact the IRB at (940) 565-3940 with any questions about the rights of research subjects. You may print this Notice for your records.
You can find the actual IRB stamped form here.
For all those wishing to participate, you will also need to download the informed consent form, sign it, scan it back in, and send it back to me before we can even schedule an interview. You can find that form here. Please review it and ask me any questions you may have!
I know not everyone reads the list, so please feel free to pass this on to anyone you think may be interested in participating. I will also be posting to various Fedora mailing lists and my Fedora wiki page about this opportunity. If you can think of any place else this should be posted, pelase let me know!
For those under 18:
If you wish to participate, I will need you to not contact me directly. Instead, I need you to direct your parents to this page and have them follow the directions there to enable you to participate. They may also be receiving communication from Red Hat to do the same.
For everyone else:
If you are over 18 and would like to contact me directly about participating, please email me at diana [@] cyber-anthro.com or find me on IRC under the nick anthro-diana!