Principal Investigator: Darlene Cavalier
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Caren Cooper, Ira Bennett, Steve Gano
Organization: Arizona State University
Arizona State University will develop new features for its SciStarter website that will expand participation in citizen science and provide rich data for researching the nature of and impacts of citizen science participation. SciStarter is a popular online citizen science hotspot featuring more than 850 searchable citizen science projects, added by researchers and project owners, and serving over 35,000 citizen scientists. The project will develop new features to add to the current website that will enable participants to explore hundreds of citizen science projects and select projects of most interest to them, track their participation, and connect to people and projects they are interested in. The expanded website will also provide rich data that will help citizen science projects evaluate their programs and that will rich data for researchers to investigate the nature of citizen science participation. The website will be widely accessible to the public through partnerships with Discover Magazine, the Citizen Science Association, and other partners.
The SciStarter website will develop additional features to expand citizen science participation and to research the nature and impacts of participation. The expanded features will include: (1) an integrated registration for participants to more easily engage in one or multiple citizen science projects, across platforms; (2) GIS implementation for project owners to define the geographic boundaries of projects so participants can find them more easily; and (3) an online, personal dashboard for participants to track their projects, participation, and contributions to science, share and save data, record interests in projects, create profiles, and find people and projects of interest to them. These new features will create opportunities for future research concerning: (1) understanding how citizen scientists use the site and how it responds to their needs and interests, and (2) understanding why, how, and with what impacts citizen scientists participate in research. The project will support the overall strategy of the Advancing Informal STEM Learning Program to enhance learning in informal environments through the funding of innovative resources through a variety of settings. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants.