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Pathfinder: An Online Collaboration Environment for Citizen Scientists
 

Pathfinder: An Online Collaboration Environment for Citizen Scientists

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Presented by Kurt Luther (GVU Center, Georgia Tech) at the 2009 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009).

Presented by Kurt Luther (GVU Center, Georgia Tech) at the 2009 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009).

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    Pathfinder: An Online Collaboration Environment for Citizen Scientists Pathfinder: An Online Collaboration Environment for Citizen Scientists Presentation Transcript

    • Kurt Luther, Georgia Institute of Technology Scott Counts, Microsoft Research Kristin B. Stecher, Microsoft Research Aaron Hoff, Microsoft Research Paul Johns, Microsoft Research 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • Comprehension  ◦ Preferred reading with Pathfinder ◦ Felt more confident in their answers  But weren‟t faster or more accurate * is significant (4 here) 4
    • Frank M. Chapman (1864 - 1945) 5
    • 27 participants  90 species  18,500 birds  1900 6
    • 27 participants 59,918 participants   2,267 species 90 species   57,704,250 birds 18,500 birds   1900 2007 7
    • Definition  ◦ Non-scientist volunteers participating as field assistants in scientific studies [Cohn 2008] Many fields  ◦ Ornithology, astronomy, oncology, entomology, etc. Two main goals  ◦ Data collection ◦ Engage public in scientific process 8
    • Christmas Bird Count 9
    • 300+ scientific publications 10
    • Definition  ◦ Non-scientist volunteers participating as field assistants in scientific studies [Cohn 2008] Many fields  ◦ Ornithology, astronomy, oncology, entomology, etc. Two main goals   ◦ Data collection ? ◦ Engage public in scientific process 11
    • Scientific Process Observations Observations  Data collection Data collection  Questions Questions ? Hypotheses Hypotheses ? Analyses Analyses ? Discussions Discussions ? Conclusions Conclusions ? 12
    • Pathfinder – home page 13
    • Pathfinder – home page 14
    • Track (user-generated) 15
    • Track (scraper-generated) 16
    • Pathfinder – home page 17
    • Pathfinder – home page 18
    • Discussion page – summary section 19
    • Discussion page – summary section 20
    • Discussion page – “con” evidence highlighted 21
    • Discussion page – responses section 22
    • Discussion page – embedded track expanded 23
    • Discussion page – editing responses 24
    • Discussion page – editing responses 25
    • Can Pathfinder help citizen scientists engage  more deeply with their data? What would citizen scientists do with  Pathfinder? ◦ Would they be able to use it? ◦ Would they enjoy using it? How does Pathfinder compare with existing  online collaboration tools? 26
    • 15 participants  ◦ Used their own office and computer 2 conditions (within-subjects)  ◦ Pathfinder and standard wiki 4 tasks  ◦ 2 editing, 2 comprehension 4 topics  Global – Kyoto protocol ◦ Global – Climate change ◦ Local – Seattle traffic and temperature ◦ Local – Seattle traffic and pollution ◦ 27
    • Pathfinder condition Standard wiki condition 28
    • During each task  ◦ Observational notes ◦ Log files ◦ Written responses After each task  ◦ Survey End of each experiment  ◦ General questionnaire ◦ Structured interview 29
    • Editing  ◦ No significant differences between systems * is significant (none here) 30
    • Comprehension  ◦ Preferred reading with Pathfinder ◦ Felt more confident in their answers  But weren‟t faster or more accurate * is significant (4 here) 31
    • Overall  ◦ 14 of 15 preferred Pathfinder to standard wiki  1 tie 32
    • Milestones and data sets  ◦ Added all milestone types  Placeholders/outlining tools ◦ Embedding and exporting data  Embedding vs. tabbed browsing ◦ Used overview to read the document “Without the overview it‟s hard to read at all.” –P7 “I like the inclusion of predictions… Having them in the template almost makes you feel free to blue sky. Just having that little label there.” –P5 33
    • Accuracy  ◦ Argumentation while editing, not writing Attribution  ◦ Wanting to “call out” others but being unable “If I‟m trying to respond to something, to address that person, you can‟t really do that without saying, „In the previous entry…‟” –P8 34
    • Design considerations for fostering original  research ◦ Attribution  Scientific community vs. Wikipedia [Forte & Bruckman 2005] 35
    • Article (wiki-style) Discussion (forum-style) [Forte & Bruckman 2005] 36
    • Design considerations for fostering original  research ◦ Meta-discussions  Commenting ◦ Social translucence [Erickson & Kellogg 2000]  Awareness, visibility, accountability  High level summary  detailed histories 37
    • Engaging novice and expert citizen scientists  ◦ Milestones: the tradeoff for improved comprehension  More work to edit, easier to read ◦ Drawing in novices  Prediction and To-do milestones  Heterogeneous granularity [Benkler 2002]  Legitimate peripheral participation [Lave & Wenger 1991] ◦ Supporting expert citizens and professional scientists  Rewards and reuse 38
    • Traditional citizen science rarely goes beyond  data collection. Pathfinder helps citizen scientists  collaboratively discuss and analyze their data. Pathfinder users were able to, and enjoyed,  deeper engagement in the scientific process. Citizen scientists need special tools because  they generate original research. 39
    • Thank you  ◦ Microsoft Research  Scott Counts, Kristin Stecher, Aaron Hoff, Paul Johns ◦ Georgia Tech  Craig Tashman, Eugene Medynskiy, Lana Yarosh, Sarita Yardi, Kelly Caine ◦ Photo credits  evelynishere on Flickr Contact me  ◦ Kurt Luther: luther@cc.gatech.edu 40