Author: Sally Carson – NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago, New Zealand

Co-author: Jenny Rock – Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago

Citizen Science (CS) is a form of informal science education where participants have the opportunity to participate in scientific research to learn scientific information, gain understanding of the nature of science, and develop their skills in the methods of science. Although new CS projects continue to be developed, the impact of these projects is not well understood. For example, what motivates involvement and how can CS be developed to facilitate both science communication and citizen-lead science enquiry?

Marine Metre Squared (Mm2), a citizen science initiative for long-term monitoring of the New Zealand seashore, aims to facilitate community engagement that leads to improved coastal management. This project strives to extend community involvement beyond data collection and support participants to recognise the value of long term data sets, investigate what the data means, formulate further questions to ask to find out more, and promote design of local studies to answer more in-depth questions.

This presentation will investigate the varied levels of involvement of schools and community groups in Mm2 through several short case studies. The origins and drivers for involvement of participants over time are discussed and a qualitative approach is used to investigate the outcomes of engagement. Factors contributing to long term invovement in the project included (1) having a clear ‘why’ or reason to participate (2) developing an understanding the science process (3) the importance of place (4) effective partnerships and (5) understanding of cultural connectedness. Discussion focuses on how citizen science projects can support support communities to share their stories and contextualise their science.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Stories
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices