URSSI Survey Questions About Diversity (Help Wanted)


#1

Hi,

URSSI is working on a survey about current practices in software development, use, organizations, maintenance, etc. Our goal is to use these survey responses to help shape the future of the institute.

In the survey there is a section that asks about diversity, but I am afraid we’re not asking the right kinds of questions that will be useful for planning this aspect of URSSI.

Below, I have posted the questions that we have developed so far - if you have any suggestions for improvement please reply here or feel free to email me at nmweber@uw.edu.

Thanks!

Current Questions:

  1. What do you do to include diverse contributors and skills in your software development projects, and / or communities? [ Open ended answer ]

  2. Considering the software project that you spend the most time working on, does this project have a diversity / inclusion statement or policy? (Please provide a link if Yes)
    Answers: Yes; No, but we plan to develop one; No, and we do not plan to develop one

  3. Considering the software project that you spend the most time working on or with, does this project have a code of conduct? (Please provide a link if Yes)
    Answers: Yes; No, but we plan to develop one; No, and we do not plan to develop one

  4. Which of the following inclusive practices and policies do you need support in creating for projects that focus on or include software development (Mark all that apply)?
    Answers: Recruiting diverse participants; Retaining diverse participants; Including diverse participants in governance and leadership positions; Developing a code of conduct; Developing a diversity / inclusivity policy

  5. A successful collaborative software project should include contributions from diverse individuals and perspectives (e.g.multiple ages, ethnicities, genders and cultures, etc.) Answer: Select [Completely disagree – Completely agree]


#2

FWIW - a colleague was recently in a training session and site visit where the PI’s got the terms diversity and inclusive culture mixed up (see question 4) and were schooled a bit on the difference. I am not the expert but it was stated that diversity != inclusion, where inclusion is making everyone feel welcome (like, everything is not about sports, etc., when that would make some people constantly feel excluded) versus diversity which is what we normally think of. Again, no solid advice here except to make sure that terms which might have different meanings aren’t mixed. Second I would be surprised if anyone answered much other than Agree on Q5 - what are you really trying to find out? For example, do you want to know not just about whether people agree, but whether for example their current projects not only have a policy, but actually do have a diverse team? What types of value do they see most from diversity (better technology, better UI’s, better team cohesiveness, etc.?)?


#3

How about a question that looks at identifying specific pain-points? Could be a re-working of Question 4.

e.g. “Which of the following does your project do well?” and “Which of the following does your project struggle with?”

  • Recruiting participants from underrepresented groups
  • Retaining participants from underrepresented groups
  • Including participants from underrepresented groups in governance and leadership positions
  • Maintaining a culture of inclusion

You might also think about asking whether projects do any measurement, tracking, or analysis of their communities with regard to diversity and/or inclusion.


#4

I would move Q5 to Q1 (the question on successful collaborative software project should include contributions from diverse individuals and perspectives). Personally, I would not assume that everyone would answer “Agree” to that. Based on many discussions, it seems not everyone does agree with that.

Would add Q2 to see what “diverse contributors” means to the person answering the survey. (Make sure there is agreement on the definition.)

Adding question: What are the challenges you face in creating / maintaining a culture of inclusion?


#5

We should be careful in defining what is meant by diversity and what is meant by inclusion. In Q1, I could interpret “diverse contributors” as those with diverse skills.
We have previously identified a pipeline problem so achieving diversity is an interesting question. An alternative is whether our software communities reflect the diversity in its domain.