Wow, it’s been a while I know!
On August 12 I presented my practicum / thesis to my anthropology department on the Fedora Project titled: An Exploration of the Fedora Project’s Online Open Source Development Community.
The unique part of my project was that I used virtual methods for almost the entirety of my research. The methods entailed the following:
- Participant Observation In Person / Online
- In Person
- Blogs / Fedora Planet
- Email / Mailing Lists
- Qualitative Research
- In-depth Semi-Structured Interviews based on data gathered during participant observation
- Conducted via Email and IRC
- Quantitative Research
- Online Survey based on analysis of the Qualitative Data
- Conducted using LimeSurvey
Based on the data gathered during this research I was able to structure my findings into five themes.
- Getting Started
In the final report each of these themes had key points that surfaced to support them and recommendations that were made based on analysis of the data gathered throughout the entire research project. You can find the community version of this report here. If you would like the full thesis / practicum paper (a bit more academic than the community report), please email me: diana [@] cyber-anthro.com. If you would like me to give the presentation again, just let me know. I am more than happy to share this data with anyone in the Fedora / FLOSS / Anthropology or Academic communities.
My committee was very pleased with my work and the results of my research, which culminated in the previously mentioned final report and presentation. With that, they signed off on the last of my graduation requirements and on August 13th I graduated with my Master of Science in Applied Anthropology!
Virtual Methods Report
I am hoping to find time in the coming months to write up a report on how I approached my research from a virtual methods perspective and did everything virtually from taking down and organizing field notes to daily interactions within the community. Not to mention the trials and tribulations of doing a study like this and lessons learned for those who wish to embark on a similar path. If you think you’d find this useful, please email me and nudge me to get it done!
Onward to PhD!
Last year I applied and was accepted into the Interdisciplinary Information Science PhD (IIS PhD) program at UNT where I started this fall. I will be focusing my studies on Human Computer Interaction and Information Policy. Due to my academic record I was nominated for and subsequently awarded a fellowship that covers my full tuition for the next four years. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be continuing on with my PhD studies, daunting though they may seem right now!
While my PhD is not in anthropology, the program is heavily centered around research, which is where my anthropology background will be a huge benefit. I will be utilizing all of my anthropologist skills in each of my research projects and final dissertation. Being interdisciplinary, I am able to blend all of my previous education as well as my skills in information architecture, usability, interaction design, and user experience together into a combined subject of study.
I am very excited to start down this new path and my goal is to aim my studies on the same subjects I did for my undergraduate and masters degrees. Those being, gaming, social networking, blogging, online communities, and open source. My hope is to also extend this into the realms of the digital divide, digital property rights, net neutrality, information accessibility, and more!
Thank you Fedora & Red Hat
Thank you to each and every single one of you who worked with me on my Fedora research. Every single one of you made a difference and I hope we get the chance to work with each other again!