What Motivates You?
Greetings, Citizen Scientists!
Some of you may remember me from my (months-earlier!) blog post on behalf of Notes from Nature, for which I was a beta tester as well as doing some copy work for the site. For those of you who don’t, let me make introductions!
My name is Aly Seeberger. I am a master’s student in the Museum & Field Studies program at CU Boulder. My thesis focuses on examining and improving citizen science volunteer motivation evaluation. Essentially, I am interested in what makes Notes from Nature and Zooniverse volunteers tick – why do you give your time so willingly and enthusiastically to these projects?
Museums and other organizations that rely heavily on volunteers do a lot of motivation evaluation in order to determine their volunteers’ needs and how best to satisfy them. However, thus far, this research has been focused mainly on volunteers inside the physical space of the museum. A new frontier for museums is developing citizen science efforts that operate outside the museum, often on the Internet. How museums engage and build participatory mechanisms given a digitally connected public is still evolving, and because of that, organizations are often working more on fine-tuning their projects than getting to know their volunteers.
There has been some research done in this area, to be sure, but it has always been very project-specific. My hope is to establish the use of a set of evaluations that can be applied across projects, in order to be able to compare results and populations in the same way. Doing so will create a streamlined, effective way to evaluate any volunteer population and get comparable results no matter the project. Any institution that hosts a citizen science project will be able to understand its user population – who they are and what they hope to get out of volunteering. Once users’ needs are identified, each project will be able to work toward meeting them. This will create a more productive, fulfilling experience for volunteers!
If this is something that interests you, I hope that you will be willing to take a quick online survey. This survey will look at you, the citizen scientist, and your motivations, and it will be used in the research described above. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and is very straightforward. You will not be required to identify yourself, nor will you be required to answer every question. The data from your results will be used in an article that will be published, but you will not be personally associated with that data in any way. If you have questions about the project, or you just want to say hi, feel free to drop in and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The survey can be found at http://survey.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0vSOngLw1nDdT7L.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope to hear from you in the near future!
Best wishes and many thanks, Aly
(who is getting ready for a roller derby match above)