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Assessing Motivation for Citizen Science across Projects

By Shiraz Chako
Location Bloomfield 527
Academic Program: BS
Tuesday 25 June 2019, 11:20 - 11:50

As volunteering is playing an increasingly important role in society, substantial research has been conducted into understanding why people choose to volunteer. A relatively new aspect of volunteerism is the increase in the number of citizen science projects. Citizen science (CS) is a scientific practice in which volunteers from the general public assist scientists in scientific projects. This kind of projects gives volunteers who are not trained experts in a field of study, the chance to participate in authentic research projects. Although research on motivations for volunteering in CS project has become extensive in recent years, two gaps still need to be addressed. First, in each project, somewhat different motivations were measured, making comparisons between projects challenging. Second, the motivations that were measured were sporadic or based on different theoretical approaches, that are not necessarily universal. Hence, it may be that some motivations were unintentionally ignored and were not measured. To address these issues, our research aims to develop a comprehensive measure of CS motivations to gain an in-depth understanding of the various motivations that lead volunteers to engage in CS projects and to enable cross-projects comparisons. Understanding why volunteers choose to contribute their time and energy to citizen science and how to attract and retain them are the key to the long-term success of these projects.