Analyze the questions of 'why' and 'how' people seed in multiple BitTorrent communities through qualitative methods. Our general goal is to have a better picture of the motivations, concerns and sociotechnical factors that affect seeding. More specifically, the main set of questions we'd like to address is: How much users understand the effect of seeding? How much users interfere with the seeding policies of their clients? What sociopsychological motivations play a relevant role in seeding? How much users understand and are influenced by sharing ratio enforcement? What users perceive as fair in a BT community? How do extrinsic and intrinsic incentives interplay and relate to users' behavior?
Choose a theoretical framework, collect data through forums crawling and interviews with users, code and relate gathered information with the theoretical framework and potentially complement the resulting analysis with quantitative analysis such as polls or measurements.
Part 1: Foundations: Reading about qualitative methods and related work, getting logins in different communities, choosing the relevant ones
Part 2: Collecting initial data, thinking interviews: crawling forums, reading and coding that; using gathered info to structure interviews, trial interviews with lab members
Part 3: Field work: interviewing real users
Part 4: Analysis: coding data, categorizing it and analyzing data iteratively
At this point, we'd need to think whether it makes sense to collect more qualitative or quantitative data.
Gifting technologies studies:
Analytical dimensions for online gift giving...;
Jorgen Skageby's work