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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Citizen Science/Participatory Science: Citizen Science in Research

Citizen science allows volunteer non-scientists to participate in data collection and analysis for scientific projects. This guide includes links to existing projects, both nationally and in Illinois.

Locating Research Based on Citizen Science

To locate research papers that use citizen science data, search for any or all of the following concepts, modified by the scientific discipline for which you're seeking information:

  • "citizen science"
  • "participatory science"
  • crowdsourcing

Below are a few open source search engines to get you started. Don't forget the commercial databases (Scopus, Web of Science, etc) that may also be available through your local library. Also check out Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, an open access journal published by the Citizen Science Association.

The Monitor Change Method in Action

Monitor Change, a concept developed by Sam Droege of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, encourages citizen scientists to monitor environmental and social change using iPhones, photo-stitching, and time lapse.

Nerds for Nature used this idea to monitor how the landscape charred in the Mt. Diablo Morgan fire changed and recovered by taking pictures from fixed locations for one year after the fire.

Using Citizen Science Data in Research

The list below is a small representation of recent research papers that used citizen science data to reach their conclusions. To locate other papers, see search tips in the box above.