Explainer video: What is citizen science?
2 November 2021
Citizen science approaches engage the public and research to address real world problem, for example, getting involved in collecting and making sense of data.
In prevention citizen science can bring together community members, academic researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to work together to address complex health problems, such as obesity health equity and food security.
Citizen scientists can be involved in some or all aspects of the research process, including: co designing research projects, where citizen scientists are involved in identifying research priorities formulating research questions or contributing to research design; documenting and making sense of the world around them, for example, using photos or surveys to capture data on local environments; analysing and interpreting data, including reviewing and coding data, interpreting findings, and generating solutions or recommendations for action; and disseminating findings and advocating for change, for example, presenting finding stakeholders, contributing to reports and publications and using findings to advocate for change.
Citizen science approaches can bring a number of benefits to the stakeholders and community members in prevention.
In particular, citizen science has the potential to: provide access to new data and insights that would otherwise be difficult to obtain; draw upon the knowledge, skills, and passion of diverse communities; increase public understanding of and support for actions to prevent chronic disease; and equip community members with the skills to contribute to change.
Examples of citizen science in prevention are emerging around the world across a variety of areas such as walkability green space and food environment.
Citizen science approaches has been used to: identify problems from the perspective of community members inform planning and priorities for action; build community capacity to bring about change co design programs or services; and monitor or evaluate policies and programs.
Citizen science requires an active community that has the capacity, time and resources to contribute to the project, so it is important to consider whether this approach is appropriate and weigh the potential benefits against the challenges for your project and to design for success.
To get the most out of your citizen science project some key strategies for success include identifying a clear purpose for engagement; establishing good governance; clear and effective communication; promoting active and authentic engagement; and ensuring diversity and inclusivity.
To find out more about citizen science in prevention visit our website preventioncentre.org.au or email [email protected]