Collaborative Research: Examining Contextual Factors Influencing the Implementation of Projects Designed to Improve Cultural Diversity in Informal Science Education Programming

Date: 
Monday, September 15, 2014 to Friday, August 31, 2018
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media, Public Programs, Citizen Science Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops
Audience: 
Museum/ISE Professionals
Discipline: 
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Education and learning science | Life science
Access and Inclusion: 
Urban
Organization:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Garibay Group, Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)
Description or Abstract: 

This project will research factors influencing the implementation of programs designed to increase diverse participation in informal science. The goal is to provide the informal science education field with information and tools that will help them design effective programs that more effectively engage a broad range of diverse audiences. The project has two major components. First, the project will research the implementation of a citizen science project, Celebrate Urban Birds (CUB), in major U.S. cities. Citizen science projects involve public volunteers in gathering scientifically valid data as part of ongoing research. Second, building on results of the research, the project will launch a website and learning community (called a Community of Practice or CoP) supporting informal science educators that are involved in designing and implementing informal science programs with an emphasis on engaging diverse participants. The project will be lead by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO), a leader in designing and researching citizen science projects, in collaboration with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and five science center members of ASTC, where the CUB program will be implemented and researched. The objective of the research is to better understand contextual factors and how they impact implementation even when accepted practices are followed. Such research is key not only to revealing accepted practices but also to understanding how projects are implemented in the face of concrete operational, cultural, economic, and demographic variables. The research will use a comparative case study approach, which is designed for studies requiring holistic, in-depth investigation. The development of the website and the CoP will be guided by a Network Improvement Strategy, a research-based approach to designing educational CoPs. The development of the CoP will involve the project stakeholders including the informal science organization practitioners, community organization representatives, CUB staff, ASTC staff, advisors and consultants. This strategy will allow the project team and pilot sites to leverage their diverse experiences and skill sets to improve practice; provide space for researchers and practitioners to work together as partners; and develop a nuanced set of strategies that can be implemented across a variety of organizational contexts.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
ISE/AISL
Award Number: 
1422022
Funding Amount: 
2384497
Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
ISE/AISL
Award Number: 
1421788
Funding Amount: 
141695

Team Members

Rick BonneyPrincipal Investigator
Cecilia GaribayCo-Principal Investigator
Margaret GlassPrincipal Investigator

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