Each year most open source developers receive a multitude of mass-mailed primarily student surveys. While exciting the younger generation about open source and its potentials for bettering the human race is a goal that we can all share, it is hard to justify spending 2 hours filling out statistics about projects which we are not personally involved in instead of working on projects which we are involved in. Be aware that many open source developers regard surveys that are not conducted by members of their own community as unsolicited emails or “spam”.
We suggest that instead of being one of the hundreds of these surveys sent out each year, that you consider participating in a few projects. If your thesis is about innovation in open source (for instance), why not participate in something like developing the One Laptop Per Child user interface which intends to help educate children around the world? Or work on clustered backends for MySQL and/or PostgreSQL? Or one of the distributed computing projects used to find cures for diseases: ?