Do you ever wish you could play a bigger part in solving problems in your community, country or even the world?

Do you think science should not just be for scientists, and that we all have a role in sharing knowledge and information?

Then you might just make the perfect citizen scientist!

WHAT IS CITIZEN SCIENCE?

Citizen science is a term that has become more and more popular over the last few years; however, it’s an idea that’s been around for a lot, lot longer!

penguins

Could you help researchers by counting the number of penguins in this picture? Imagine if it was a live video and they were constantly moving!

It describes the method of non-scientists and members of the public with no formal background or training, helping organisations collect information or scientific data.

Birdwatching, stargazing and butterfly counts are some of the more common studies the general public can join in with.

In terms of energy related projects, they tend to focus around air pollution, plastics in the ocean, and the effects of climate change.

The internet has made it much easier for anyone and everyone to get stuck into science projects and research studies such as these.

You can watch videos of penguins in the Arctic and help count how many there are to help map migration patterns, all while sitting in your bedroom.

Some studies are even made into games! This can encourage people to play and beat high scores, all while contributing to important scientific research!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

With the help of thousands of people all collecting data compared to a small group of scientists, research can be completed quicker, cheaper and more samples can be gathered, meaning more detailed information.

Involving non-scientists in science research can make understanding science much more inclusive, and gives everyone the chance to experience real-life science.

Citizen scientists can be involved in different stages of the research, from collaborating with professional scientists as to programs or methods they’re using, to getting feedback on results of studies, and even being named on scientific papers!

outside classroom 2

HOW CAN I JOIN IN?

There are several websites listing citizen science projects that you can get involved with, both locally in your community or global online projects you can do from the comfort of your computer!

SciStarter

Zooniverse

Scientific American

National Geographic