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citizen science research methods
Topics: and Disciplines:
Science & Society
Type: Honours Challenge. This course is aimed at gaining practical problem-solving experience in an organisation.
This course is an (extracurricular) Master Honours Challenge aimed at talented 3rd (and on) Bachelor's students and Master’s students. Admission will be based on academic background, GPA and motivation.
In this Impact Challenge, you will develop and perform a citizen science project: doing research in collaboration with the general public.
For many problems facing society today, scientists are trying to find solutions through their research. This societally relevant research can contribute to greater sustainability, healthier lives or increased well-being. However, for this kind or research to have impact it is important to collaborate with societal stakeholders and the general public. This can be done through citizen science. Citizen science means the active collaboration with the public in scientific research through data collection or analysis, but also through defining research questions or drawing conclusions. In this course, you can find out how citizen science works and you will perform your own citizen science project, in collaboration with a researcher from Leiden University.
You will work in interdisciplinary teams with a coach (a scientist at Leiden University) on their proposed citizen science project, in fields ranging from biodiversity to safety and public health. You will also collaborate with other stakeholders such as the municipality and “Learning with the city” (Leren met de Stad).
Project Search for New Antibiotics will focus on the sampling of soil in search of antibiotics-producing and resistant bacteria. Participants will sample and research their samples in collaboration with microbiologists and chemists. Possibly in collaboration with school groups.
Project Urban Nature Regarding Climate Change will focus on building a monitoring platform of citizen scientists who are collecting environmental data in Leiden and combining their data to learn about the role of urban nature regarding climate change, pollution and well-being.
We are working to add another project related to public health.
You will learn more about the links between science and society: how can society inform research and how can research support societal developments? You will develop and conduct a research study related to a societally relevant topic, involving stakeholders throughout the entire research process. At the end of the course you will have developed a working citizen science project and will give recommendations about the future of the project. You will also present your findings towards relevant target audiences (municipality, residents, community members, depending on the topic).
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
be able to analyze and map problems/questions/situations in society;
be able to develop research that addresses societal issues;
be able to communicate research results to different stakeholders;
know what citizen science is;
know how citizen science can create a link between society and science;
be able to collaborate with different stakeholders including (local) government, policy makers, citizens, societal organisations;
be able to perform interdisciplinary research;
apply creativity, originality, social concern to the project.
Programme and Timetable
Meetings are scheduled on Wednesdays 17:15-19:00.
Please keep the other Wednesdays available for individual work and group collaboration.
Part 0: General skills
Session 1: November 8, 2023; Introduction
Session 2: November 15, 2023: General skills
Part I+II: Analyzing the problem and research questions
Session 3: November 22, 2023; Analyzing the problem
Session 4: December 13, 2023; Work session
Part III: Developing research method
Session 5: January 24, 2024; Developing research methods
Part IV: Collecting data
Session 6: February 28, 2024; Collecting data
Session 7: March 27, 2024; Work session
Part V: Data analysis
Session 8: April 24, 2024; Data analysis
Part VI: Presenting results
Session 9: May 22, 2024; Communicating your results
Session 10: June 19, 2024; Final symposium
Lipsius building, room 1.21
This course is worth 10 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 280 hours, or about 9 hours per week, on average.
Lectures: 8 lectures of 2 hours = 16 hours
Sessions with coach: 10 sessions of 1 hour = 10 hours
Independent group work: 144 hours
Literature reading: approx. 30 hours
Assignments & final report: 80 hours
Assessments will be based on:
10% Participation assessed continually through participation in meetings, lectures and group work
30% Intermediate products (problem analysis, research questions, protocol, database, data analysis)
20% Presentation during final symposium
40% Final report
Students can only pass this course after successful completion of all partial exams.
Vohland, K., Land-Zandstra, A., Ceccaroni, L., Lemmens, R., Perelló, J., Ponti, M., Samson, R., & Wagenknecht, K. (Eds.). The Science of Citizen Science. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. (Open Access)
Other reading material will be announced in class or via Brightspace.
Brightspace and uSis
Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.
Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Master Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.
Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday, 25 September until and including Sunday, 15 October 2023 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.
Note: students don’t have to register for the Master Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.
Dr. Anne Land-Zandstra: email@example.com