University of Limerick Institutional Repository

Assessing citizen science participation skill for altruism or university course credit: a case study analysis

DSpace Repository

Show simple item record Phillips, Christopher Walshe, Dylan O'Regan, Karen Strong, Ken Hennon, Christopher Knapp, Ken Murphy, Conor Thorne, Peter 2018-06-15T09:15:45Z 2018-06-15T09:15:45Z 2018
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract A common challenge in citizen science projects is gaining and retaining participants. At the same time, the tertiary education sector is constantly being challenged to provide more meaningful and practical work for students. Can participation in citizen science projects be used as coursework with real practical experiential-learning benefits, without affecting the citizen science project outcomes? We seek to begin to answer this question via a case study analysis with Cyclone Center (CC), which asks participants to classify tropical cyclone characteristics through analysis of infrared satellite imagery. Skill of individual users has previously been shown to be obtainable once classifiers have looked at approximately 200 images using an expectation-maximisation likelihood approach. We use skill scores to determine if participation for course credit or altruism influenced skill for volunteers and students from two universities under three increasingly complex categories of classifications (eye or no eye; stronger, weaker, or the same; and which of six fundamental storm types). A bootstrap resampling approach was used to account for discrepancies between sample sizes. Overall, there is limited evidence for substantive differences in classification performance between credit awarded and altruistic participants, with only one finding of significance at <p = 0.05 (Maynooth University showing lower mean agreement with the volunteer consensus on eye vs. no-eye). There is evidence that integrating participation into a larger assessment that requires the students to show understanding of the project may reduce a low-skill student tail. Furthermore, students’ perceptions of the coursework compared to more traditional assignments were overall favourable. These findings, if replicated for other citizen science projects, open up possible avenues to more generally increasing participation in, and exploitation of, citizen science projects in the academic sector en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Citizen Science: Theory and Practice;3 (1),6, pp. 1–13
dc.subject participation en_US
dc.subject academia en_US
dc.subject credit en_US
dc.subject altruism en_US
dc.subject climate en_US
dc.subject volunteers en_US
dc.subject tertiary education en_US
dc.title Assessing citizen science participation skill for altruism or university course credit: a case study analysis en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.5334/cstp.111
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search ULIR


My Account