What’s so great about being a citizen scientist?

By October 18th, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Comment 1

Seriously, I want to know what you think makes for a great citizen science experience.

On November 2, I’m giving at talk at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America on the topic “Citizen Science from the Citizen’s Point of View.” In large part, that talk will focus on the feedback we’ve gotten from you, both in response to an informal survey we conducted in 2009 and in response to Michael’s post in July.

You’ve told us, for example, that the top two reasons you participate in citizen science activities are to help safeguard or improve the environment and to learn more about a subject. You’ve also said that, from your point of view, the most important requirements of a project are that it provide feedback to the participants and that you get to see the final results, knowing that you had a hand in them.

This is great information that will help scientists as they create and shape citizen science projects–and will help us as we work with scientists and with you.

Now, I’d like to push things a little farther. This week, I’m interviewing volunteers for projects such as Citizen Sky and ClimateWatch more specifically about what they like and don’t like about their citizen science experiences. I’m hoping to hear, for example, that the best part was the chance to ask a researcher questions directly or that the worst part was having to cope with a balky website to enter data. You know–real specifics.

Won’t you to chime in as well? Think about the projects you’ve taken part in and consider these questions:

  • What’s an example of the most enjoyable part of your experience?
  • What has been least interesting or enjoyable?
  • Did you have interaction with the scientists themselves? Is that important to you?
  • Did you have interactions with fellow participants? Is that important to you?
  • Did anything surprise you about the research itself, the organization of the project, or your fellow participants?
  • What did the project organizers do to keep you involved and informed? Is there anything they could have done more of, or done differently to keep you involved?

Please include your thoughts in a comment below. I’ll post after November 2 to let you know how the talk went and report on the meeting.

Thanks for adding to the discussion!

What were your goals in becoming involved in this project? What did you hope to get out of it?

Have you achieved those goals?

What have you enjoyed the most about your participation?

What has been least interesting or enjoyable?

Do you have interaction with the scientists themselves? Is that important to you?

Do you have interactions with fellow participants? Is that important to you?

Has anything surprised you about the research itself, the organization of the project, your fellow participants, etc?

What have the project organizers done to keep you involved and informed?

Categories: Citizen Science

One Response to 'What’s so great about being a citizen scientist?'

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    20 Oct 10 at 7:33 pm

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