Poster Open Access

Participant motivation to engage in a citizen science campaign: the case of the TESS network

Gloria Re Calegari; Irene Celino; Mario Scrocca; Esteban González; Jaime Zamorano

This poster presents the study about the motivation of participants to the TESS community and was presented at the ECSA 2020 conference

The study was conducted within the ongoing H2020 project named ACTION (pArticipatory sCience Toolkit agaInst pollutiON) on citizen science. Volunteers participate to citizen science initiatives for multiple reasons: personal enjoyment, desire for improvement or achievement, establishment of personal relationships, care for the environment, etc.

Studying motivation and investigating the factors influencing people participation to citizen science projects is an essential aspect in the analysis of citizen science communities. Understanding the reasons that foster people to engage can support the successful design and implementation of effective participant involvement tasks, as well as pave the way for long-term engagement.

The goal of the study is to analyse the motivation to participate of a specific citizen science community focused on fighting light pollution: the network of around 120 hosts of the TESS photometers. Volunteers of this network accepted to host and install sensors to monitor sky brightness in order to collect data for measuring the level of light pollution in many areas of the Earth.
The volunteers are very diverse: professional astronomers, amateur astronomers, light pollution fighters, astronomical outreach (museum, planetarium, dark sky association, etc.), astro-tourism actors, public administrations and others.

The reference methodology to investigate motivation to participate is a questionnaire derived from the best practices from citizen science research  which in turn are inspired from and extend the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. We selected a manageable subset of questions from those sources, we enriched it with some additional information requests and we turned it into a conversational survey that can be administered through CONEY, a conversational survey toolkit to administer surveys through an interactive chat interface developed by Cefriel. The result is an interactive questionnaire, investigating 10 relevant latent variables, related to motivation and data collection in citizen science.

 

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