Millions of people around the world watch live streaming wildlife cams, but they aren’t just watching: they are asking questions, trading information, and witnessing events that may be undocumented in the scientific literature. The goal of Bird Cams Lab was to design a digital space and framework enabling online communities to engage in a co-created scientific inquiry process utilizing wildlife cams to answer bird-related questions of common interest. To achieve this goal, the project engaged participants at every stage of the research process—including observation, generating and selecting research questions, collecting data, reviewing and discussing findings, contributing to data reports, and sharing results with others. In doing so, Bird Cams Lab provided opportunities for bird cam watchers to satisfy their own curiosities, become invested in stages of research that are usually reserved for experts, and bring their own perspectives and experiences to the table in scientific investigations.
This report presents findings from the summative evaluation of the project, conducted by external research partners at Rockman et al. This evaluation effort includied a series of pre- and post-particiption surveys, post-participation interviews, and analysis of participation data. This report provides insights on co-created inquiry in comparison and contrast to other modes of public engagement with scientific processes and experiences.
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