LAS students and teachers resources

Literature in Citizen Science

Citizen Science + Education:

“Turning Students Into Citizen Scientists” book chapter by John Harlin, Leysin American School; Dr. Laure Kloetzer, Université de Neuchâtel; Dan Patton, LAS; Chris Leonhard, LAS; and Students at LAS. To be published in winter 2018 in Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy, UCL Press.

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The Journal of Emerging Investigators: “…where students become scientists”

The Journal of Emerging Investigators is an open-access journal that publishes original research in the biological and physical sciences that is written by middle and high school students. JEI provides students, under the guidance of a teacher or advisor, the opportunity to submit and gain feedback on original research and to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Because grade-school students often lack access to formal research institutions, we expect that the work submitted by students may come from classroom-based projects, science fair projects, or other forms of mentor-supervised research.

 Two models for implementing Citizen Science projects in middle school
Kathryn Paige, Robert Hattam, Christopher B. Daniels

Abstract: Australia, like other developed countries grapples with the education of its citizens, particularly the scientific aspects of global environmental problems that require well-informed literate citizens and an urgent need for more scientifically literate knowledge workers. This paper takes this crisis as a provocation for thinking about one approach developed internationally—the citizen science approach. Whilst there are a lot of reports from citizen science projects, especially in scientific journals, there is a paucity of research about how citizen science has been taken up in the public culture and in schools. This paper outlines two different models both using an action research model that has teachers as co researchers with tertiary educators. Firstly, teachers have engaged with a large public citizen science program in which students collect scientific data around iconic species, such as possums, magpies, blue tongue lizards and spiders. Secondly, middle school teachers select a citizen science topic that connects to their student life worlds, in an attempt to raise the educational aspirations for learners through tertiary participation, and excellence in school-based curriculum development. This paper describes the two models used to develop scientific citizenship in middle schools in Adelaide, South Australia.

Full Text: PDF download

Challenges and successes in engaging citizen scientists to observe snow cover: from public engagement to an educational collaboration
Susan E. Dickerson-Lange, Karla Bradley Eitel, Leslie Dorsey, Timothy E. Link and Jessica D. Lundquist
JComm: Journal of Science Communication 15(01)(2016)A01 

“We engaged citizen scientists to collect observations of the timing of distributed snow disappearance over three snow seasons across the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. … Whereas the outreach efforts garnered abundant enthusiasm and publicity, the resulting datasets were sparse. In contrast, direct collaboration with an outdoor science school that was already sending students to make weekly snow observations proved fruitful in both data collection and educational outreach.”

This article is full of information that is useful for building CS in schools.

Using a Citizen Science Approach in Higher Education: a Case Study reporting Roadkills in Austria
Florian Heigl, Johann G. Zaller

Abstract: Many European universities are faced with the trend towards increasing student numbers along with steady numbers of lecturers and professors. Especially courses in natural sciences live from their applied character, therefore the challenge for educators is to teach and transfer knowledge at weak lecturer to student ratios. As a way to cope with this situation, we created a project using a citizen science approach in an obligatory Bachelor course named Biology of Terrestrial Animals. The project called BOKUroadkill was conducted over three months and engaged students in reporting roadkilled animals during their daily routine. With a mobile app (EpiCollect) running on their private devices and a custom-programmed online reporting form over 100 students reported 1236 animals killed on roads. After data collection and analysis, students provided feedback on the project. Based on the students’ feedback, we developed a new online platform where all citizens can participate ( Based on our experience with BOKUroadkill we conclude that a citizen science approach in higher education is very suitable for (i) addressing important elements of motivation for learners and (ii) familiarizing students with scientific research.

Download full article in PDF.

Curriculum examples for citizen science (Google Doc collection)

Scientix: the community for science education in Europe.

Scientix promotes and supports a Europe-wide collaboration among STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) teachers, education researchers, policymakers and other STEM education professionals. Scientix was originally born at the initiative of the European Commission and has, since its inception, been coordinated by European Schoolnet, a Brussels-based consortium of thirty ministries of education, which is a driving factor for innovation in teaching and learning and fosters pan-European collaboration of schools and teachers.

Citizen Science Central – links from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, including the CS Toolkit

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research… this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

Guide to Citizen Science: Developing, implementing and evaluating citizen science to study biodiversity and the environment in the UK.

The UK Environmental Observation Framework is a partnership of the major public funders of environmental science and was launched in 2008 to address issues of fragmentation, data access and a lack of strategic direction in environmental monitoring.

This guide aims to support people already involved in citizen science, and those new to it, within the UK. It is based on detailed information gathered and analysed as part of the UK-EOF funded project “Understanding
Citizen Science & Environmental Monitoring”, which semi-systematically reviewed 234 projects and included 30 case studies (Roy et al., 2012). It will help you to design and implement a citizen science project relating to biodiversity or the environment.



Bibliography from “Turning Students into Citizen Scientists” chapter in Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy, UCL Press (2018):

Bonney, R., Cooper, C. B., Dickinson, J., Kelling, S., Phillips, T., Rosenberg, K. V., & Shirk, J. (2009). Citizen science: a developing tool for expanding science knowledge and scientific literacy. BioScience, 59, 11, 977-984.

Jennett, C., Kloetzer, L., Schneider, D., Iacovides, I., Cox, A., Gold, M., … & Talsi, Y. (2016). Motivations, learning and creativity in online citizen science. Journal of Science Communication, 15, 3.

Jordan, R. C., Ballard, H. L., & Phillips, T. B. (2012). Key issues and new approaches for evaluating citizen‐science learning outcomes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment10(6), 307-309.

Kloetzer, L., Schneider, D., Jennett, C., Iacovides, I., Eveleigh, A., Cox, A. L., & Gold, M. (2013, November). Learning by volunteer computing, thinking and gaming: What and how are volunteers learning by participating in Virtual Citizen Science?. In ESREA 2013: Changing Configurations of Adult Education in Transitional Times Proceedings (pp. 73-92). European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA).

Paige, K., Hattam, R., Daniels C.B. (2015). Two models for implementing Citizen Science projects in middle school. Journal of Educational Enquiry, 14, 2, 4-17.

Randin, C., Engler, R., Normand, S., Massimiliano, Z., Zimmermann, N., … & Guisan, A. (2008). Climate change and plant distribution: local models predict high-elevation persistence. Global Change Biology, 15, 6.

Silva, C. G., Monteiro, A., Manahl, C., Lostal, E., Holocher-Ertl, T., Andrade, N., … & Brito, R. M. (2016). Cell Spotting: educational and motivational outcomes of cell biology citizen science project in the classroom. Journal of Science Communication, 15, 1.

Sverre, H. (2016). High school students as citizen scientists in air quality research – lessons learned. ECSA Conference, Berlin.

Trautmann, N. M., Shirk, J. L., Fee, J., & Krasny, M. E. (2012). Who poses the question ? Using citizen science to help K-12 teachers meet the mandate for inquiry. In R. Bonney & J.L. Dickinson (Eds) Citizen science: Public participation in environmental research. Comstock Publishing Associates, 179-190.

Vallabh, P., Lotz‐Sisitka, H., O’donoghue, R., & Schudel, I. (2016). Mapping epistemic cultures and learning potential of participants in citizen science projects. Conservation Biology, 30, 3, 540-549.

Vitone, T., Stofer, K. A., Steininger, M. S., Hulcr, J., Dunn, R., & Lucky, A. (2016). School of ants goes to college: integrating citizen science into the general education classroom increases engagement with science. Journal of Science Communication, 15, 1, 1-24.

Zoellick, B., Nelson, S. J., & Schauffler, M. (2012). Participatory science and education: bringing both views into focus. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10, 6, 310-313.

Further Literature:

Benefits and challenges of incorporating citizen science into university education
Nicola Mitchell , Maggie Triska, Andrea Liberatore, Linden Ashcroft, Richard Weatherill, Nancy Longnecker
PLOS | One, Published: November 1, 2017
A common feature of many citizen science projects is the collection of data by unpaid contributors with the expectation that the data will be used in research. Here we report a teaching strategy that combined citizen science with inquiry-based learning to offer first year university students an authentic research experience. A six-year partnership with the Australian phenology citizen science program ClimateWatch has enabled biology students from the University of Western Australia to contribute phenological data on plants and animals, and to conduct the first research on unvalidated species datasets contributed by public and university participants. Students wrote scientific articles on their findings, peer-reviewed each other’s work and the best articles were published online in a student journal. Surveys of more than 1500 students showed that their environmental engagement increased significantly after participating in data collection and data analysis. However, only 31% of students agreed with the statement that “data collected by citizen scientists are reliable” at the end of the project, whereas the rate of agreement was initially 79%. This change in perception was likely due to students discovering erroneous records when they mapped data points and analysed submitted photographs. A positive consequence was that students subsequently reported being more careful to avoid errors in their own data collection, and making greater efforts to contribute records that were useful for future scientific research. Evaluation of our project has shown that by embedding a research process within citizen science participation, university students are given cause to improve their contributions to environmental datasets. If true for citizen scientists in general, enabling participants as well as scientists to analyse data could enhance data quality, and so address a key constraint of broad-scale citizen science programs.

Children and Nature Connections:
Link to LAS Google Doc with literature list. Not currently viewable from outside LAS network.

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