By Gloria Re Calegari – Cefriel
Volunteers participate in citizen science initiatives for several reasons: personal enjoyment, desire for personal improvement or achievement, establishment of personal relationships, care for the environment, etc. Studying motivation and investigating the factors influencing people’s participation in citizen science projects is therefore an essential aspect in the analysis of citizen science communities. Understanding the reasons that encourage people to engage in such initiatives can foster the successful design and implementation of effective participant involvement tasks, as well as pave the way for long-term engagement.
Within the second ACTION accelerator program, Cefriel’s team is carrying out a study about the motivation of volunteers to participate in the accelerated pilots. The reference methodology to investigate motivation to participate is a questionnaire derived from the best practices from citizen science research (https://www.cs-eu.net/news/questionare-motivation-citizen-science-scale), which in turn are inspired from and extend the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values.
The questionnaire was implemented using Coney, a tool developed by Cefriel for designing and administering conversational surveys through an interactive chat interface, and it was administered to all the pilots involved in the second accelerator program: WOW Nature, Walk Up Aniene, Open Soil Atlas, Restart Data Workbench, Mapping Mobility and Water Sentinels.
At the end of the data collection, the goal is to classify the different motivations depending on the type of enrollment and the nature of the pilots, with the purpose to create guidelines to motivate volunteers to participate in Citizen Science projects.
The survey filling is ongoing and it will be completed in September 2021.