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I am doing an academic research regarding professional communities and I want to validate the outcomes of using motivational factors and one of them is the usage of contests like the iPad contest.

How can I obtain access to such information?

Here are some of the things I'm trying to find answers to (you don't need to answer them)

  • Is motivation lost after contest? Does it modify the overall trend and if it does in which way?
  • To which extend is the quality of the contributions affected by the contest? Do we start getting "spam"?
  • Can we do a cost-benefit analysis on motivational contest? If so how? While computing the cost would be easy, how can we count the results in money?
  • What percent of the increased traffic is from new audience? While it’s obvious that motivating people to share it will increase the overall site visibility. It would be interesting to see if there is a link between the increase in traffic and the creation of new accounts. This would help up identify if the „quality“ of the new audience, as the increase in traffic is not a target.

Quantitative

  • visits/week
  • new questions/week
  • new answers/week
  • new accounts/week

Note: at this moment I consider the week as optimum, as it should minimise the seasonality and still be small enough to deal with changes due to different events (like a contest).

  • Can you add more detail about what sort of statistics you are looking to find? Things like answer rates before/during/after the contest etc? – stuffe Apr 11 '12 at 15:51
  • Yep, things like this, but I will compute a detailed list and update the answer. – sorin Apr 11 '12 at 15:53
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The stack exchange employees do track many aspects of site traffic, statistics and usage, but do not make details as granular as you specify public. They do occasionally blog aggregate data from time to time on other sites (but I don't recall one addressing Ask Different directly.)

The best thing I can think of is for you to look at the public data that is made available and see if your research can make use of it. The public quantcast data about this site might be a good place to start.

There is a contact us link at the bottom of each site, so it might be worth shooting off an email to the owners in case they are entertaining requests for access to some manner of data.

I hope this helps you even though it's not anything you can use today for research.

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