The Crowd & The Cloud: Citizen Science, Big Data and the Democratization of Research
This media and research project will develop and study the use of new media, broadcast television, and social networks to introduce Citizen Science to a national audience, and motivate their direct involvement and participation. Project deliverables will include: four nationally-distributed public TV programs hosted by Waleed Abdalati, Director of CIREs at the University of Boulder and former NASA Chief Scientist; online videos for training and outreach of citizen science partners; digital engagement via social media; and a custom-designed application ('2nd screen app') that enables users to obtain additional informational content, share information, and connect with other viewers. The evaluation and research study will build new knowledge on how these deliverables can motivate the public to become citizen science participants. The investigators estimate the four television programs will reach approximately 80% of U.S. television households. In addition, videos and other content will be distributed through channels such as iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, and social media. Target audiences will include the general public, citizen science activists, and professional scientists. Underrepresented groups will be reached through special Google Hangouts, and professional societies such as SACNAS and AGU. The research components of the project will provide evidence on how traditional researchers respond to citizen science, and explore the deliverables' use as recruitment tools for citizen science projects and impacts on viewers' attitudes, behaviors, and skills related to citizen science. Data will be collected from multiple sources, including online surveys, in-person focus groups, and analyses of users' online postings. Retrospective surveys will be administered to explore changes in behavior regarding whether respondents have increased their interaction with professional scientists, or participated in citizen science initiatives. A quasi-experimental study will be conducted to assess the value added by the 2nd screen app.