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Tools for Citizen-Science Recruitment and Student Engagement in Your Research and in Your Classroom

    Authors: Sarah E. Council1,2, Julie E. Horvath2,3,4,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Center for Science, Math and Technology Education, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707; 2: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC 27601; 3: Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707; 4: Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 March 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh, NC 27601. Phone: 919-707-8242. E-mail: Julie.Horvath@naturalsciences.org.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 38-40. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1018
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    Abstract:

    The field of citizen science is exploding and offers not only a great way to engage the general public in science literacy through primary research, but also an avenue for teaching professionals to engage their students in meaningful community research experiences. Though this field is expanding, there are many hurdles for researchers and participants, as well as challenges for teaching professionals who want to engage their students. Here we highlight one of our projects that engaged many citizens in Raleigh, NC, and across the world, and we use this as a case study to highlight ways to engage citizens in all kinds of research. Through the use of numerous tools to engage the public, we gathered citizen scientists to study skin microbes and their associated odors, and we offer valuable ideas for teachers to tap into resources for their own students and potential citizen-science projects.

Key Concept Ranking

Bacteria and Archaea
0.5019048
Skin
0.4678925
0.5019048

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1018
2016-03-01
2017-11-18

Abstract:

The field of citizen science is exploding and offers not only a great way to engage the general public in science literacy through primary research, but also an avenue for teaching professionals to engage their students in meaningful community research experiences. Though this field is expanding, there are many hurdles for researchers and participants, as well as challenges for teaching professionals who want to engage their students. Here we highlight one of our projects that engaged many citizens in Raleigh, NC, and across the world, and we use this as a case study to highlight ways to engage citizens in all kinds of research. Through the use of numerous tools to engage the public, we gathered citizen scientists to study skin microbes and their associated odors, and we offer valuable ideas for teachers to tap into resources for their own students and potential citizen-science projects.

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FIGURE 1

The Speed Smelling Event was held at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the SECU Daily Planet Theater. After a brief introduction, each participant smelled a T-shirt that had been previously worn by a participant. Each bag held a T-shirt that was labeled with a coded participant letter, and participants were asked to rate the pleasantness, odor intensity, and attractiveness. We also had participants describe the smell of each T-shirt. (All participants signed a media release form.)

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 38-40. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1018
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FIGURE 2

Several tools for gathering citizen scientists, expanding your network, and launching a project.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 38-40. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1018
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FIGURE 3

By posting on a website, we have ongoing communication with our citizen scientists. Through collaboration with YourWildLife.org, we have been able to update our participants on the progress of the project and provide an avenue for further dialogue about the nature of research.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 38-40. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1018
Download as Powerpoint

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