Participants play a major role in the success of a citizen science project and they will get involved and remain involved for different reasons. Understanding the motivations of participants and ensuring they align with your project goals can ensure a smoother delivery of your project and sustain participation.
In general, your project participants will want to know that they are making a valuable contribution to your project, the broader area it operates in and/or advancing scientific research and decision-making. However, these reasons may vary between participants and can change throughout the duration of a project.
Key types of participants and their motivations are:
These individuals may have existing expertise, be part of an existing network of volunteers, be able to support project design and can work with more sophisticated data and equipment.
Citizen science projects can be a great activity for families with young children. Consider fun activities that might suit this group during weekends and school holidays. The activities should be engaging, educational and demonstrate how the family’s efforts have contributed to tangible outcomes.
Retirees contribute significantly to citizen science projects. With varying degrees of interest and skill based on the individual, it's important to consider access to and familiarity with technology. Retirees can be driven by a range of reasons, such as contribution to policy, recognition for their expertise and social motivations.
- Existing groups
There are existing groups and individuals that you can partner with to start your citizen science project. Find out which groups are already working in your desired location or have a passion for your topic. These groups enjoy the social aspect of the community and are driven by the impact of their involvement.
Schools and youth groups such as the scouts will be interested in citizen science projects that are educational and engaging. Consider designing project materials for both organisers and kids. The activities should demonstrate how their work contributes to positive outcomes and/or the school curriculum.