Toolkit

Citizen Engagement

Engagement of citizens is at the heart of participatory science. Citizens can engage with projects in many different ways throughout the entire participatory science lifecycle: They can initiate projects, formulate research questions and hypotheses, collect, analyse and interpret data to answer them, learn about the scientific context, communicate the results of the project to policy makers and relevant stakeholders, talk about the project on social media and other platforms, or engage with others in their own and the scientific community (Bonney et al., 2009; Phillips et al., 2019). While many projects will have some kind of link to the scientific community, other projects do well without such connections. For example, Noise Maps was conceived by citizens, but had support from sound experts at a local university, while In My Backyard developed and executed their project, collected and analysed their data together with citizens.
Any participatory science project will engage citizens at some or all stages of their lifecycle. The specific form citizen engagement takes will look very different depending on the type of project, who initiates it, what it focuses on, and what stage of the lifecycle it is in. If the project is not initiated by citizens or has no direct link to the community it is embedded in, engagement should be the focus of project owners, to ensure citizens’ voices are heard and taken seriously.

Engaging individuals & communities

Who are the citizens that need to be engaged? This will depend heavily on the kind of project, and the stakeholders that are involved. For example, while all of the ACTION pilots engaged citizens and/or local communities, some of them found that it is also beneficial to engage potential polluters, such as owners of fishing vessels (for water and air pollution – Sonic Kayaks; see case study below), owners of a mine (for water pollution – Water4Future), or catering suppliers (for plastic / soil pollution – CitiComplastic).

 

TOOLS

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GUIDELINES & RECOMMENDATIONS

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ACTIVITIES

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CASE STUDIES

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CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

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TOOLS

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ACTIVITIES

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CASE STUDIES

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