1. Darlene Cavalier
  2. https://isearch.asu.edu/profile/2186378
  3. Professor of Practice
  4. SciStarter
  5. Arizona State University, SciStarter
  1. Caren Cooper
  2. SciStarter
  3. North Carolina State University, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, SciStarter
  1. Maria Sharova
  2. SciStarter
  3. North Carolina State University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Rachael Mady

    Rachael Mady

    Graduate Student
    May 13, 2018 | 12:57 p.m.

    I came across the SciStarter platform a couple weeks ago and I am excited to see it here on the NSF Video Showcase! What a great idea and way to connect citizen scientists and scientists!! Also, I am pleasantly surprised that so much cross-over happens with citizen scientists working on projects from different disciplines. 

  • Icon for: Miyoko Chu

    Miyoko Chu

    Senior Director of Communications
    May 13, 2018 | 10:10 p.m.

    I love the idea that participants can be recognized for their contributions! SciStarter seems like an essential platform to help participants find projects and projects find participants. Also great that the data can be used to improve project design. What sort of information from participants enables design improvements? (And hi, Caren--I enjoyed your comments in the video!)

  • Icon for: Caren Cooper

    Caren Cooper

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:52 p.m.

    Nice to hear from you Miyoko!

    To explain, first consider without SciStarter, project managers can see the activity patterns of volunteers only in their project. For example, project managers have often noted skew in participation in which a small percentage of volunteers are super-contributors and large percentage of volunteers contribute to smaller degrees. The observation of skew has framed how managers think about recruitment and retention and various trade-offs in project design. Now with SciStarter, project managers can see the activity patterns of volunteers beyond the scope of their project and into other events and projects. Information about how volunteers engage across the ecosystem of projects can help understand those skew patterns more broadly. Taking that further, some volunteers might engage in projects within one field (like birds) and others might cross disciplinary boundaries; some might engage only in the field, other online only, others both. There are a few ways this type of information might influence design and implementation of projects: 
    For example, project managers might find research opportunities or collaborations by seeing the combination of projects people are naturally drawn to (e.g., if there are birders doing plant phenology projects, then knowing that association might help prioritize - or demonstrate the feasibility of - a bird-plant phenology research collaboration).
    Also, projects will be able to evaluate the role they play in the citizen science ecosystem, for example, some project aim to be gateway projects...and with SciStarter, projects can assess whether they are succeeding in bringing people into citizen science projects more broadly. 

    Also, assessing learning outcomes of volunteers can be more robust when considering their broader participation across projects, rather than assuming they their experiences are limited to one project. Plus, we'll be implementing some standardized ways (building on DEVISE instruments) to assess learning outcomes across projects. 

    Bottom line - SciStarter provides information across the ecosystem of thousands of citizen science projects, and that may break down ideas about managing volunteers as though projects - and their volunteers - exist in silos.

     

     

  • Icon for: Miyoko Chu

    Miyoko Chu

    Senior Director of Communications
    May 14, 2018 | 08:29 p.m.

    Thanks for the info, Caren. It's great to hear how these insights can be gained with SciStarter, helping us understand more about participants across the spectrum of their activities and to connect with them in new ways.

  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:44 a.m.

    Darlene and team, thank you for explaining and showing so clearly how the SciStarter resource can be used by those designing, and implementing, as well as seeking to participate in the growing variety of citizen science projects that are being developed. Along the lines of Miyoko's question I am also interested in how the iterative design process works in practice.

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Lesley Markham
  • Icon for: Caren Cooper

    Caren Cooper

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:38 p.m.

    Hi Jamie, Thanks for your comment. I answered Miyoko's question above with some brief examples, some related to how projects might "design" their volunteer communication and recruitment and some related to how the data can inform new research questions and cross-project collaborations. Let me know if you have other questions.  

  • May 14, 2018 | 10:22 a.m.

    Darlene and Caren -- I really like the graphic showing how participants contribute across disciplinary boundaries. Have you published that work yet? I'd love to learn more. 

  • Icon for: Caren Cooper

    Caren Cooper

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:52 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment, David...and for asking for the preprint. I'm glad understanding volunteer patterns across disciplinary boundaries is of interest. We'll send you the paper as soon as it is accepted! 

  • Icon for: Sara Mierzwiak

    Sara Mierzwiak

    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2018 | 10:05 a.m.

    I love the Scistarter website- what a great idea to compile so many different organizations and opportunities into one simple website. I checked for the program I'm involved in - ww.globe.gov - and the different citizen science apps are highlighted on your site. Your website could be a great way for us to introduce GLOBE in our public talks to future citizen scientists. Thank you!!!

  • Icon for: Kalie Sacco

    Kalie Sacco

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 12:20 p.m.

    Thanks for the video! It's great to hear about SciStarter 2.0 and the enhancements you've made to the platform. It's impressive that you have managed to bring together 100K science-loving participants! Do you do any active recruitment of scientist participants, or is it mostly organic participation?

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 03:53 p.m.

    I am definitely sharing SciStarter with all of our families and youth at the museum. I am curious about ages. Are there certain ages of volunteers that are using your site more than others? Do you have a sense of other demographics like professions or level of schooling, race, etc?

  • Icon for: Darlene Cavalier

    Darlene Cavalier

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 08:31 p.m.

    Thank you, Preeti! We're glad you like SciStarter! We originally created the site as a resource for adults (of all ages); however, we know  that a growing number of middle/ high schools and colleges are incorporating SciStarter into their curricula.   If your museum has a website, you may want to consider embedding the SciStarter Project Finder so online visitors can find and join projects based on search filters including age level, location, topic, etc: https://scistarter.com/widget/new . You can customize it with your museum's branding, too!

    Thanks again,

    Darlene

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Lisa Milenkovic
  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 04:15 p.m.

    Thanks Darlene, this is a great, practical opportunity for interested citizen scientists and program/project developers to connect to the larger community. Give this rapidly growing landscape of activity, what kinds of research questions do you think would help improve learning design of public participation in science, crowdsourcing and community science settings and experiences?

  • May 17, 2018 | 10:30 a.m.

    This seems like a great resource, and I wish I had known about it at the start of our project (GeniConnect)! Can you say more about how researchers with projects seeking volunteers are able to utilize SciStarter?

  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 03:09 p.m.

    Watching the video several times now I'm wondering how much we know about how often and when citizen scientists on one type of project "transfer" their interest and participation to another, e.g. from birding to astronomy, e.g.....

     

  • Icon for: Caren Cooper

    Caren Cooper

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 07:46 a.m.

    Thanks for watching and for the question, Jamie. That's the focus of research in my lab based on tools of the SciStarter platform!
    I have a paper (in prep for far too long) based on survey results of volunteers in the Christmas Bird Count. We set out to compare contributions to citizen science (like number of CBC circles, etc) and associated conservation behaviors (like habitat restoration, etc) of volunteers who only do CBC and those who do other cit sci projects. We found that 100% of respondents - 3,000+ - did other bird citizen science projects! Perhaps not a big surprise in that CBC is seasonal and birding is year round and there are sooo many bird citizen science projects. Yet, we also found that 36% of the respondents also engaged in citizen science projects unrelated to birds - and these spanned the spectrum of topics (water, butterfly, weather, frogs) and modes (in the field, online). So YES, citizen scientists do multiple projects.

    Does that mean they "transfer" from one project to another? Not necessarily, but that seems to be a common (mis?)perception. We've been interviewing project managers about their attitudes and perceptions on this topic and they speak about vertical movement (volunteers diving deeper into one project - managers want to encourage that) and horizontal movement (volunteers moving among projects - manager don't like that). But, volunteers can do multiple projects without "moving" at all (they don't have to drop one project to engage in another, within limits of their band width). Bottom line - what's really happening in terms of movement/transfer has not been highly investigated YET.

    Much about SciStarter's new design facilitates investigating research questions about multi-project participation. For the first time, we can examine patterns of participation across thousands of projects among SciStarter members because volunteers populate their dashboards with the projects they do (and bookmark projects they are interested in). Do volunteers advance to more complex projects as their competences increase? Do volunteers who engage in citizen science projects spanning multiple disciplines have great science efficacy than those who stick to one discipline? Stay tuned for answers to these and more!

    What do you think are the most pressing research questions in this area? 

    BTW, In terms of CBC volunteer contributions to science and conservation outcomes, we found differences between volunteers who do only bird projects and those who do more than bird projects. I'll leave some suspense as to which type of volunteer contributed more....

     

     

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.