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Feb 06, 2018 Article
Appealing to different motivations in a message to recruit citizen scientists: results of a field experiment

by Tae Kyoung Lee, Kevin Crowston, Mahboobeh Harandi, Carsten Østerlund and Grant Miller

This study examines the relative efficacy of citizen science recruitment messages appealing to four motivations that were derived from previous research on motives for participation in citizen-science projects. We report on an experiment (N=36,513) that compared the response to email messages designed to appeal to these four motives for participation. We found that the messages appealing to the possibility of contributing to science and learning about science attracted more attention than did one about helping scientists but that one about helping scientists generated more initial contributions. Overall, the message about contributing to science resulted in the largest volume of contributions and joining a community, the lowest. The results should be informative to those managing citizen-science projects.

Volume 17 • Issue 01 • 2018