Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Understanding the Motivation to Contribute to Wikipedia

statusnot funded
Understanding the Motivation to Contribute to Wikipedia
start and end datesJuly 2023 - July 2024
budget (USD)50000 USD
fiscal year2022-23
applicant(s)• Quy Lam

Overview edit


Quy Lam

Affiliation or grant type

UC Merced


Quy Lam

Wikimedia username(s)

Project title

Understanding the Motivation to Contribute to Wikipedia

Research proposal edit

Description edit

Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.

Understanding individual’s motivation to write to Wikipedia is particularly important in building a better Wikipedia community. Although it’s a free open source, only a small percent of Wikipedia users writes contents in Wikipedia. To improve this platform, it is crucial to encourage people with the knowledge to write for Wikipedia. Therefore, understanding people’s preferences regarding writing for Wikipedia and the factors people think are important in making the writing decision is essential when developing a strategy to encourage more contributors.

Aim & Objectives

This study aim is to understand motivation to contribute to Wikipedia and preferences of people.

The objective is to elicit the preferences of people when considering writing for Wikipedia in different incentive channels.


Our study will use discrete choice estimation (DCE) survey methodology to examine the factors people value most in the making decision to write for Wikipedia. Discrete choice experiments (DCE) are commonly used in economics to identify the strength of preferences underlying decision making, especially for those decisions where little data is available to identify the decision makers revealed preference. Rather than using rating or ranking scales to measure preferences, DCE questions ask people to weigh-up different characteristics (attributes) and choose between hypothetical options (choice sets). DCE’s have been used previously to examine preferences toward monetary, fame/recognition, authorship incentives. The results from the DCE will inform us on the relative importance of each aspect of incentives people value most. Specifically, the results from the DCE can be used to explore participant’s preferences over different incentives.

Our study will use a quantitative DCE survey methodology. SAS JMP will be used to construct a matrix of 10 versions of 16 choice set designs


Participants will be individual from English speaking countries and countries in Asia. We believe that individual from Asia should be different than individual from Western and European countries in making decision to write to Wikipedia. They not only have different cultures but also more likely do not write in English.

Personnel edit


Budget edit

Approximate amount requested in USD.

50000 USD

Budget Description

Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).

Prize or monetary payment for survey's participants

Salary for RA to develop survey

Salary for RA to conduct survey

Impact edit

Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.

This project will help us better understanding individual's decision to write to Wikipedia. What factors will have strong impacts on the decision to write. This information can help us to develop strategies to encourage more people to write. Having more content contributors is essential in building a bigger and better knowledge sharing platform.

Dissemination edit

Plans for dissemination.

I will make the data from my study publicly available. I plan to write and publish my research and findings.

Past Contributions edit

Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.

I haven't been funded by Wikimedia Research Fund or had relevant work.

I agree to license the information I entered in this form excluding the pronouns, countries of residence, and email addresses under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. I understand that the decision to fund this Research Fund application, the application itself along with all the information entered by my in this form excluding the pronouns, country of residences, and email addresses of the personnel will be published on Wikimedia Foundation Funds pages on Meta-Wiki and will be made available to the public in perpetuity. To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, I agree that any output of my research will comply with the WMF Open Access Policy. I also confirm that I have read the privacy statement and agree to abide by the WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.