In October – November 2015, I travelled on the Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship, ‘to design enduring methods that engage nature lovers to monitor wildlife population sizes and needs’ – USA, Hungary, UK
You can download the report of my Fellowship findings here
In summary, I concluded:
- The phrase ‘citizen science’ is confusing; neither science nor citizens are all one thing. It pays to be cautious in assuming anything about a ‘citizen science’ project.
- The quality of a project’s science is the feature most likely to attract and retain participation. ‘Engagement’ activities that suggest, but cannot realise, a solid scientific aim are typically less likely to last, and may negatively affect the image of citizen science.
- Good design, training and testing greatly enhance reliability of any research, and confidence in it.
- Analytical techniques are ever-improving but cannot necessarily fix issues post-hoc.
- Citizen science takes time and resources to do well. Time devoted to good communication – e.g. for skills training, regular feedback and institutional collaborations – is likely to be worthwhile.
More on these points in future posts.
Following on from the fellowship, I’m working with volunteers to design a citizen science project to monitor threatened burrowing crayfish – Claws on the Line
Please join in!