It is far too tempting to be dismissive of emerging buzzwords or sparkly new concepts as merely the re-emergence of established wisdom dressed in the latest fashionable ‘new-speak’. Occasionally however, a term will come along that helps us re-evaluate the place science has in society. The term ‘science capital’, a measure of an individual’s relationship with science, is just such a word, and to pluck another buzzy phrase out of the zeitgeist, it offers a chance to ‘check your privilege’ (perhaps a topic for another post!).
Citizen science can be described as the participation of non-professional volunteers in professional science projects. Citizen science plays an important part in delivering environmental data on a range of scales and forms the basis of scientific research and management decisions. Such activities might involve counting ladybirds and bees, monitoring volcanoes or spotting an insect affecting trees. If citizen science is to be successful and sustainable into the future, project organisers need to know what motivates their volunteers and their colleagues!
In this post I want to share with you some findings from a recent report we published on motivations for citizen science (funded by the UK Environmental Observation Framework (UKEOF)).