What motivates people to become citizen scientists?
Citizen science is increasing in popularity but remains largely located in the disciplines of environmental and natural sciences. However, it has the potential to be a useful tool in other disciplines such as health.
A couple of years back an honours student from La Trobe University named Bessie Lehman https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elizabeth_Lehman3 interviewed different groups of people about why they would want to take part in projects such as Our Outdoors. Understanding the motivations for involvement in such a programme is likely to be useful for increasing participation rates and involvement.
The study identified five key themes pertaining to the factors that motivated/demotivated engagement with health-related citizen science projects such as Our Outdoors. These included:
1. Enhancing social connectedness
2. Personal learning development
3. Making a difference in the community
4. Gaining health and well-being benefits
5. Demotivating factors relating to time constraints and the term “citizen science”
This study concludes that emphasising motivating factors in the promotional material for health-related citizen science projects may increase recruitment and the active involvement of participants. Similarly, reducing the presence of demotivating factors and considering the use of the term “citizen science” is likely to encourage participation.
Read more about the research here.