The session on engagement, participation and research was made of several talks. Here is the summary of some of the talks in the session,
Bridging the research-practice gap: Highlights and lessons learned from integrating citizen science practice and educational research
1. Natural History Museum, London, 2. University of California, Davis, 3. California Academy of Sciences, 4. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County/La Brea Tar Pits Museum, 5. Open University, 6. University of Oxford – Zooniverse
The team of Learn CitSci is combining three museums: LA, SF and London, and the University of Oxford, Open University, and UC Davis. The project is mixing research and practice in citizen science. They are looking at different programmes that are short and long term activities. There are differences between bioblitzes in different museums, so need to think about the learning of children in the interactions with museums – and they try to understand the issues. They specifically focus on participatory research – how the partnership work, and need collaboration between researchers and practitioners. There are researchers that are embedded in museums and need to ensure communication and close collaboration, with ongoing training and knowledge transfer between the different partners. They do deep collaboration and communication. Using Slack, regular meetings every 2 weeks and ensuring that practitioners are aware of the research process and move beyond a study site. The consent process with children, for example, was facilitated by working with practitioners. Everyone give feedback on tools and research instruments which complicates things a bit. The embedding research staff in the Researcher-Practitioner role is to be working inside different locations. That creates a legacy of research knowledge that is getting to organisations. There is a lot of knowledge that researchers benefit from the interpretation by practitioners. There is also training and knowledge transfer by mentoring on slack, mini-presentations and training during team meetings. Recommendations: the budget needs to appreciate the costs of authentic collaboration – significant staff time for practitioners. Need a continuation of communication and clarification of expectation and needs. There is a need to allocate time for communication and collaboration and also ensure co-authorship within the project.
Who Gets to Contribute and How: Expanding Community Scientist Participation Beyond Data Collection
Leighanna Hinojosa1, Joseph Polman1, Robbin Riedy1
Joseph presented and it is part of an NIH-SEPA – Science Education Partnership Awards. There is in the museum of Denver a Genetics of Taste Lab, and the use of community science in order not to exclude anyone. The participants are community scientist volunteers (N=53) with research that was based on an ethnographic approach. In the second and third year, volunteers were invited to be engaged in a literature review, data analysis, research paper and review and redesign of the research protocol. The research question that Leighanna looked at is the process of learning. They notice life and career stage – pre-professional, Early-Middle Career, and late career. Late career people are doing mentorship and been involved in more stages of the research process. Researcher in a late stage also supporting in a literature review and similar skill.
In the Early-Middle stage, you have people who are knowledgeable in biology and laboratory research and seeing an opportunity to engage with science while in a different life stage. The project included an expert review panel, which included volunteers with a science background and the volunteers contributed to review proposals and during the panel, both the knowledge of the environment and the work in the museum, as well as scientific background influenced the way they contributed to the discussion. The Pre-professional – so people that are still in high school and they volunteer in the lab because of an interest in genetics, or a way to increase engagement – but that requires more effort from lab staff to support them. A clear menu of options can assist volunteers in identifying where and when they can contribute.
Integrating citizen science into museum exhibitions through participatory design
Exhibition designer in the Geckogroup – about natural history museums and thinking about integrating citizen science into exhibits. The museum needs to be relevant, a gathering place for a dialogue with the community, with civic engagement and collective action. In exhibits – it can be integrated into all the things that are shown in the museum. The participatory design process includes museum staff, external stakeholders (e.g. scientists) and the community, visitors, and citizen scientists involved in the process. There is the option of community curation where community members are helping in the curation process – examples include Philadelphia history Museum “Philadelphia Voices” gallery, or Open Museum in Glasgow. In her research exampled a framework for citizen science and community-curated exhibits. Carried out a study of existing museums (NC, San Diego, LA) – notice location and visibility of the activity are important but it is hard to find the space. The repetition and reinforcement of terms (e.g. citizen science), less text is more – need to carry out detailed edits of text. Strong collaboration across departments in the museum. In terms of the citizen scientists as community curators, there was an interest in sharing their knowledge. Visitors preferred passive learning over active and social experiments and interested in bringing data to the museums for analysis. Community curation will lead to different ways: storytelling, meeting places, or training – all the way to DIY lab.
Constructing Reciprocity and Negotiating Collaboration in Citizen Science Projects
looking at the concept of boundary objects which can be useful for educational research. How boundary objects support reciprocity in citizen science? Participation needs to have value for both participants and researchers. The question – what value accrue to participants in citizen science? In 2017 the NHM in the University of Oslo collaborate with volunteers in transcribing notes from the herbarium to make data more accessible and she followed the project. Boundary object came from Star ideas in 1989 and 2010. She was interested in work across discipline – collaboration without consensus – what they will do and how they are doing it. The idea that it was possible to engage different people with different priorities to collaborate – for example, exhibits and specimen in natural history museums – and the ability to deal between different social world. boundary objects allow to have the herbarium pages containing plants from the society, and the botanical society members were interested because of the location – different interpretation: the museum staff wanted to ensure that the right pages are being digitised, while for the society they could understand their space and interest. There are examples – e.g. data that was received from the museum, although the botanical society improves it, the museum didn’t take the data due to data quality concern – an example that in this case, the data was not acting as a boundary object. Boundary objects support reciprocity by enabling collaboration across social worlds, but also by making meaningful connections between the expertise of scientists and citizens.