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Jun 09, 2016 Article
"We muddle our way through": shared and distributed expertise in digital engagement with research

by Ann Grand, Richard Holliman, Trevor Collins and Anne Adams

The use and availability of digital media is changing researchers' roles and simultaneously providing a route for a more engaging relationship with stakeholders throughout the research process. Although the digital realm has a profound influence on people's day-to-day lives, some researchers have not yet professionally embraced digital technologies. This paper arises from one aspect of a project exploring how university research and professional practices are evolving as researchers engage with stakeholders via digital media to create, share and represent knowledge together. Using researchers from the Open University (U.K.) as a case study, this paper reviews the extent to which they are developing multiple identities and functions in their engaged research through digital media.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016

Jun 07, 2016 Article
Maths in the news: uses and errors in Portuguese newspapers

by Susana Pereira, António Machiavelo and Jose Azevedo

The authors present a quantitative content analysis to assess the use of mathematical information in the news of five generalist Portuguese newspapers during a three-month period. Misuses of mathematics were also studied in this context. Results show that only a small percentage of the news articles have mathematical information when compared to previous studies in the field. Furthermore, over 30% of the news articles containing mathematical information have some type of mathematical error. Different categories of errors are defined and reasons why these might occur are discussed.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016

May 25, 2016 Article
Typologies of the popular science web video

by Jesus Munoz Morcillo, Klemens Czurda and Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha

This article provides a first statistical analysis of the typologies and characteristics of popular science web videos on YouTube. An analysis of 190 videos from 95 online video channels was conducted. Several factors such as narrative strategies, video editing techniques, and design tendencies with regard to cinematography, the number of shots, the kind of montage used, and even the use of sound design and special FX point to a notable professionalism among science communicators independent of institutional or personal commitments. This analysis represents an important step in understanding the essence of current popular science web videos and provides an evidence-based description of their distinctive features.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016

May 10, 2016 Article
Learning at the Science Museum. A study on the public's experiences with different types of visit at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan, Italy

by Matteo Villa

This study aims to investigate whether different types of museum visits have specific ways to influence the visitors' experience and learning. Three types of museum visits as offered by the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan, Italy were taken into consideration: free tour, guided tour, and lab. The study involved visitors over 25 years of age. The way visits took place, the visitors' learning and experiences were investigated based on evidence collected using methods such as Personal Meaning Mapping and observation. Our study has revealed that the outcomes of the visits vary in terms of visitor experience and depth of knowledge on the main subject. No significant differences were found as concerns the level of attention (visitors proved to be attentive while at the museum regardless of the type of visit).

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
BioBlitzes help science communicators engage local communities in environmental research

by Erin Roger and Sarah Klistorner

There is growing recognition that effective science communication should not merely focus on addressing scientific literacy but must also open dialogue between scientists and the public, build trust, and increase public interest in environmental research. Citizen science BioBlitzes offer a useful approach for science communicators to address many of these key aims. We explore the BioBlitz concept, learnings and outcomes based on a case study of a BioBlitz held in Sydney, Australia. We found that participants valued learning about biodiversity on the day and importantly, all participants (scientists and citizen scientists) rated interacting and learning from the experience as one of the main benefits.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
Science learning via participation in online citizen science

by Karen Masters, Eun Young Oh, Joe Cox, Brooke Simmons, Chris Lintott, Gary Graham, Anita Greenhill and Kate Holmes

We investigate the development of scientific content knowledge of volunteers participating in online citizen science projects in the Zooniverse (http://www.zooniverse.org). We use econometric methods to test how measures of project participation relate to success in a science quiz, controlling for factors known to correlate with scientific knowledge. Citizen scientists believe they are learning about both the content and processes of science through their participation. We don't directly test the latter, but we find evidence to support the former — that more actively engaged participants perform better in a project-specific science knowledge quiz, even after controlling for their general science knowledge. We interpret this as evidence of learning of science content inspired by participation in online citizen science.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
Aligning community-based water monitoring program designs with goals for enhanced environmental management

by Amy Buckland-Nicks, Heather Castleden and Cathy Conrad

Community-based water monitoring (CBWM) provides essential baseline information on watershed health and engages the public in science, but those involved often encounter barriers to informing environmental management. We conducted qualitative interviews with watershed group coordinators and government counterparts from four CBWM organizations to explore instances where CBWM successfully influenced governmental decision-making. Our findings show that the level of rigor for quality standards, inclusion of volunteers, available resources, and desired goals are important considerations when designing community-based monitoring programs. Integrated program designs that include adequate quality standards and engage volunteers are more apt to maximize resources and realize both scientific and educational goals.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
Bringing citizen monitoring into land management: a case study of the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program

by Rowan Converse, Daniel Shaw, Kim Eichhorst and May Leinhart

Despite the rapid expansion of citizen-based monitoring, data from these programs remain underutilized by natural resource managers, perhaps due to quality and comparability issues. We present the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program as a case study of an initiative successfully meeting long-term monitoring needs of federal, state, tribal, and local natural resource managers, and informing public policy. To maximize potential for partnerships with managers, we recommend the creation of a five-year plan including scientific goals and financial solvency strategies prior to establishing a citizen science program, and offering multiple platforms for data-sharing and dialogue.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
Motivations, learning and creativity in online citizen science

by Charlene Jennett, Laure Kloetzer, Daniel Schneider, Ioanna Iacovides, Anna Cox, Margaret Gold, Brian Fuchs, Alexandra Eveleigh, Kathleen Mathieu, Zoya Ajani and Yasmin Talsi

Online citizen science projects have demonstrated their usefulness for research, however little is known about the potential benefits for volunteers. We conducted 39 interviews (28 volunteers, 11 researchers) to gain a greater understanding of volunteers' motivations, learning and creativity (MLC). In our MLC model we explain that participating and progressing in a project community provides volunteers with many indirect opportunities for learning and creativity. The more aspects that volunteers are involved in, the more likely they are to sustain their participation in the project. These results have implications for the design and management of online citizen science projects. It is important to provide users with tools to communicate in order to supporting social learning, community building and sharing.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
Understanding volunteer motivations to participate in citizen science projects: a deeper look at water quality monitoring

by Bethany Alender

Volunteer water quality monitors represent the intersection between citizen science and environmental stewardship. Understanding what motivates participation will enable project managers to improve recruitment and retention. This survey of 271 volunteers from eight water quality monitoring organizations in the U.S. found the strongest motivators to participate are helping the environment or community and contributing to scientific knowledge. No variation by gender was found, but younger volunteers have different motivations and preferences than older volunteers. Volunteers value the communication of tangible results more than recognition or reward.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016