An Introduction To Citizen Science

Citizen Science Definition

Because scientific advances are happening faster than ever these days, it is increasingly more popular and important for the average member of society to contribute to the on going research and discoveries being made in nearly every field daily.

250354_155784427831926_7442142_nThe phrase ‘citizen science’ can apply to a wide range of concepts from a generalized idea of public engagement in scientific endeavors to the pursuits of scientist in the interest of the public good and benefit. Here we define citizen science as the involvement of any member of society in conducting scientific experiments that are of interest to the greater good of the community.

As an example, the avid beach goer who walks along the low tide line to explore the tidepools may wish to begin documenting and researching their frequently visited ecosystems in order to notice any sudden or on-going changes they may have seen over the years.

Why is Citizen Science Important?

Science is progressing at such an alarming rate that everyone can now benefit from the fantastic achievements being made in the areas of technology, medicine, business, recreation and nearly every other area of life. However, because of the demand for collecting data from a wide demographic, the average individual can contribute a lot back to the world of science, as well.

The more that people blog, make YouTube videos, and share their ideas with each other, the faster scientific concepts can develop, be implemented and improved. With the ability to share information being just as fast as it is to receive information, the world of citizen science is fast becoming a great resource for the global scientific community.

Benefits of Citizen Science

Citizen science brings a sense of unity to the community. It allows like-minded people to get together to advance their own research and collaborate with each other. Citizens can begin to work as a group to improve their communities, acting with the efficiency of scientist.

Citizen science empowers students with a sense of self importance, knowing that they are able to contribute and have an important role in real life science. In this sense, citizen science helps to build character and self-esteem in youth.

Another benefit of citizen science is understanding that research isn’t just for the scientist. We should all care about our local environment, and seek to understand the issues that affect us more deeply.

Citizen Science Projects

There are endless projects and events you can join in, the Zooniverse and Scistarter are great resources for getting started with some projects.

Recently Mountain and Sea Adventures has launched a citizen scientist social media project that allows people to share their ocean discoveries using hashtag #oceanwatch. People can share announcements of rare sightings, discoveries and important reports on the marine environment.

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