|Date||Fri Aug 5 15:09:42 2011|
|Subject||[greenstone-users] Summary of PhD findings and a final thank you!|
|Several years ago I invited subscribers to this email discussion list to complete a Web-based survey as part of my PhD research. Since the data gathered were anonymous, I don?t know who the individual respondents were, which means I am sending this summary of the findings to the list.
I am very grateful to the people who took the time to complete the survey, and provided such interesting perspectives on what factors influenced their satisfaction with a free/libre and open source software project.
The abstract for the thesis is below, outlining the research method and summarising the main findings.
The purpose of this research was to identify factors that affect participants? satisfaction with their experience of a free/libre open source software (FLOSS) project. The research built on existing models of user satisfaction from the information systems literature, and also incorporated two characteristics of FLOSS projects first identified by Ye, Nakakoji, Yamamoto, and Kishida (2005), product openness and process
Richard Stallman?s reasons for setting up the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation arose from his frustration at being forced to be a passive user of software used for a Xerox printer. These suggest that being able to be an active participant in a FLOSS project is one factor that should be examined, and therefore the first sub-question this project answers is, What types of contributions do participants make to
Several studies have shown that the extent of participation in a FLOSS project varies from individual to individual, and this variation leads to the second sub-question, Do the factors that influence satisfaction vary for different types of participation? If so, in what way?
A preliminary conceptual model of factors affecting participant satisfaction was developed, reflecting the key concepts identified in the literature. The main theoretical goal of this research was to test the model using empirical data.
The research used a sequential, mixed methods approach. The first, qualitative stage involved reviewing documents from selected projects and interviewing a purposive sample of FLOSS project participants. The
The results of the first stage showed that participation in FLOSS projects was a more complex construct than previously reported in the literature. Seven distinct categories of activities were identified:
Four attributes that modified these categories were also identified: organisational focus, role formality, remuneration, and time commitment.
Data from 154 responses to the online survey were used to test the model using stepwise multiple regression, which determined the effect of each of the variables on overall participant satisfaction. Moderated regression analysis was used to test the effects of three potential moderating variables. The results showed that that perceived system complexity had the largest effect, decreasing satisfaciton if respondents perceived that the software was complex, while project openness and perceived developer communication quality accounted for the most variance in satisfaction.
The main theoretical contribution of this research lies in its extension of satisfaction studies to FLOSS communities, showing that communication and openness are more important than in conventional software
The final version of the thesis is available in the VUW library?s research archive at:
Thank you again to everyone who completed the survey. Please let me know if you have any questions about the research project.