Online citizen science: Participation, motivation and opportunities for informal learning

Curtis, V., Holliman, R., Jones, A. and Scanlon, E. (2018) Online citizen science: Participation, motivation and opportunities for informal learning. In: Herodotou, C., Sharples, M. and Scanlon, E. (eds.) Citizen Inquiry: Synthesising Science and Inquiry Learning. Routledge, pp. 7-24. ISBN 9781138208681 (doi:10.4324/9781315458618)

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Digital technologies are profoundly social in use. They are developed and defined by participants who learn through iterative processes of participation. This is the case with online citizen science projects. Typically, scientists propose a way of conducting their research in a distributed fashion. They seek out experts in information and communication technologies (ICT), and sometimes the citizens they wish to engage with, to work collaboratively in producing and testing a distributed, online research project. It is through this process of iterative collaborative design that these participants both learn from each other and through the development and use of technology. But the learning does not end there. Once the online citizen science project is launched, citizens will need to be recruited and trained in how to conduct the project task, use and potentially further develop the technology and, in some projects, interact with other participants in the activity. In some instances, this learning extends to include the governance of the project as a whole. Participants in citizen science learn about not only the science, but also the norms, conventions, rules and technologies of a given project. This chapter explores some of these issues, in particular focusing on why citizen scientists register on projects, but also, crucially, what makes them stay and become productive members of a distributed research project (Curtis, 2015a).

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Curtis, Dr Vickie
Authors: Curtis, V., Holliman, R., Jones, A., and Scanlon, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation

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