What does a Citizen Science project entail?

A citizen science project involves a certain group of citizens (both groups as well as individuals) by one or more phases of research, sometimes in collaboration with a knowledge institution, or institution, but not necessarily. This can happen at smaller and larger scales.

Subsequently, a suitable and interested group of volunteers is assembled. This group will have an active contribution to one or more parts of the project. The job that volunteers do, can be collecting data, categorizing it, or doing part of the analysis. In some cases there is a prior training or workshop, so that volunteers are sufficiently prepared.

What are the benefits of Citizen Science?

Citizen science is a relatively new concept within science, but is getting more and more popular as part of research projects. This has multiple benefits:

  • A group of individuals that each to a little work, leads to a lot more data in a much smaller timeframe than any researcher, research-group or company could gather in the same timeframe.
  • It is an efficient way to collect and process data.
  • Not only can citizens collect a lot of data together, but these data can in some case be gathered from hard-to-reach places, like backyards or schoolyards.
  • It is also a great opportunity to test new technologies or innovations on a larger scale.

Even though these points are beneficial for the party that had the question, it is also beneficial for the volunteers. By doing research or measurements yourself, you get a better grip on your environment. As a volunteer you can do measurements for problems that you may experience yourself (maybe even on a daily basis) and you can influence the (way to a) possible solution. Additionally, participating in real science is fun and interesting, and you’ll find out that anyone who wants to can be a researcher!