Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Tools and Strategies for Growing Citizen Science

Description

Citizen science is a fast-growing movement that, at its best, promises fine-grain, broad extent data that are relevant to a range of environmental issues facing the marine environment. Climate forcing, invasive species, biodiversity loss, and the impacts of pollution, fisheries and coastal development are all phenomena that can be documented by high quality volunteer-based monitoring programs. But is the quality of the average coastal citizen science program really that high? Can non-expert volunteers collect scientific information at the level of precision and accuracy as members of the scientific community? Restated: how can citizen science programs insure the data are highly accurate, collected without bias, and at the spatial and temporal resolution that mirrors the problem or question the program is attempting to address? And finally, if a program is tuned only to production of high quality data, is that fact alone enough to keep participants excited about their involvement? This presentation will review the design steps needed to insure high quality, high relevance programs. Emphasis will be placed on organizational structure, training and follow-up, participant testing, participant retention, data verification and data use, and communication strategies. Case examples of successful coastal marine citizen science programs delivering consistently high quality data immediately useful in science and resource management will be provided.

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Citizen Science, Data Quality and Participant Experience: Stacking Functions

2016SSEC

Citizen science is a fast-growing movement that, at its best, promises fine-grain, broad extent data that are relevant to a range of environmental issues facing the marine environment. Climate forcing, invasive species, biodiversity loss, and the impacts of pollution, fisheries and coastal development are all phenomena that can be documented by high quality volunteer-based monitoring programs. But is the quality of the average coastal citizen science program really that high? Can non-expert volunteers collect scientific information at the level of precision and accuracy as members of the scientific community? Restated: how can citizen science programs insure the data are highly accurate, collected without bias, and at the spatial and temporal resolution that mirrors the problem or question the program is attempting to address? And finally, if a program is tuned only to production of high quality data, is that fact alone enough to keep participants excited about their involvement? This presentation will review the design steps needed to insure high quality, high relevance programs. Emphasis will be placed on organizational structure, training and follow-up, participant testing, participant retention, data verification and data use, and communication strategies. Case examples of successful coastal marine citizen science programs delivering consistently high quality data immediately useful in science and resource management will be provided.