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Master thesis on Free Software contributors - help needed

First of all I apologize if this is not the right place to ask, but to a newcomer all the Debian lists can be a bit confusing and I was not able to find a more relevant list.

I am a master student at the IT University of Copenhagen and I am writing my final thesis on contributors to Free and Open Source Software. For that purpose I would like to do a survey among developers of one or two big Free/Open Source Software project(s) of which the Debian project would fit in great. So I need to find out if it would be possible to distribute a questionnaire among Debian developers and how this would be done best.

In my project I try to cover who contributes to F/OSS, what motivates them and whether they share some underlying political values. I am among others very inspired by E. Gabriella Coleman who some of you might know since her research took place among Debian developers. Her project as well as other existing work was based on field work in limited settings so I would like to test some of their findings in a survey among a wider range of developers and compare that with findings from similar studies of motivations and values of other groups.

That means I will need to control who is invited to the survey. Ideally I would send a questionnaire to every developer of the Debian project, but I guess this could easily be considered spam if it was not agreed upon with the project somehow. Could any of you help me on how and where to ask for permission to distribute such a questionnaire?

Of course I would very much like to share any findings with the Debian project or give something back in any other way as a thank you for any help. Also as a thank you for making this great OS possible that I have also benefited from for many years :-)

Kind regards Nikolai Gad

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