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Cultivating citizen scientists


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Cultivating citizen scientists

  1. 1. Cultivating citizen scientists: How does working singly or in pairs, and the type of feedback influence motivation and contribution? Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory Yurong He, Carol Boston, Jennifer Preece, Anne Bowser, Dana Rotman, Derek Hansen
  2. 2. Citizen science Scientists invite citizens to voluntarily contribute to scientific projects 3
  3. 3. Citizen science challenges MORE Volunteers ! Data ! 4 [e.g., Crowston, 2013; Wiggins, 2013]
  4. 4. Previous research This study 5 Existing volunteers Potential volunteers
  5. 5. 6 Does cultivating citizen scientists work?
  6. 6. 7 Science, Technology, and Society (74 freshmen)
  7. 7. One-month citizen science project simulation: 8 A field experiment Week 1 & 2: Learn it! What is citizen science? Week 3 & 4: Do it! Collecting data for “Tree and Bird Observation on Campus”
  8. 8. 9 Easy: tree Difficult: bird Paper form Digital photo Collecting scientific data How?What?
  9. 9. Way of working in week 3 &4 : • Working in a pair • Working alone Researchers’ feedback in week 4: • Positive feedback • Positive directive feedback 10 [Zhu et al. 2013] Independent variables
  10. 10. 11 Volunteers’ motivation • Survey Volunteers’ data quantity • Number of words on paper form • Number of photos Dependent variables
  11. 11. Motivation 12 [Guay et al. 2000] Intrinsic motivation e.g. “I engaged in this activity because I think that this activity is interesting” Identified regulation e.g. “I engaged in this activity because I believe that this activity is important for me” External regulation e.g. “I engaged in this activity because I am supposed to do it” Amotivation e.g. “There may be good reasons to do this activity, but personally I don’t see any.”
  12. 12. 13 Motivation results • Week 3: Working in a pair “interesting” “important to me” • Week 4: Positive directive feedback “don’t see any good reasons” lower higher [Intrinsic motivation] [Identified regulation] [Amotivation]
  13. 13. 15 Data quantity results Week3: No difference between working alone and in a pair
  14. 14. Variables (Easy) (Difficult) Paper form Photo Paper form Photo Pair ND (no difference) ND ND More Positive directive Feedback More More More ND Interaction Yes N N Yes 16 Data quantity results Week 4:
  15. 15. 18 Data quantity results Tree & Paper form Bird & Photo
  16. 16. Interview result Working in a pair: Working alone: Reasons for… 19 “ If someone was there, it was a lot more appealing and more fun.” (P19) “Some of the other people in the class don’t take it as serious as I might like to. It’s kind of de-motivational being with others” (P7) “Not lonely, there is somebody you can discuss with when you are observing [trees and birds]” (P17) “Cause you can think about it more, you don’t have to always communicate your thoughts” (P26)
  17. 17. Implication for citizen science • Volunteers’ ways of working on citizen science • Difficulty of citizen science tasks • Type of feedback 20 Acknowledgement NSF : grant # 0968546. Contact Me: