The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Citizen Inquiry: Engaging Citizens in Online Communities of Scientific Inquiries

Aristeidou, Maria (2016). Citizen Inquiry: Engaging Citizens in Online Communities of Scientific Inquiries. PhD thesis Institute of Educational Technology.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (14MB) | Preview
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Citizen Inquiry has been proposed as an informal science learning approach to enable widespread involvement in science and empower citizens with reasoning and problem-solving skills used by scientists. It combines aspects from citizen science and inquiry-based learning, producing science learning experiences within distributed communities of interest. A central challenge for Citizen Inquiry is to involve citizens in planning and implementing their own investigations, supported and guided by online systems and tools within an inquiry environment, while collaborating with science experts and non-experts.

This thesis explores how to create an active and sustainable online community for citizens to engage in scientific investigations. To this end, it investigates the design of online communities, recruitment and retaining of members, factors that engage or disengage members from the community, and whether and how members learn throughout their participation. The intervention comprises two iterations of Citizen Inquiry communities: ‘Inquiring Rock Hunters’ and ‘Weather-it’. The communities were accommodated by the nQuire platform and the nQuire-it toolkit, respectively, software designed and structured to support collaborative personally-meaningful inquiry learning.

The findings of this research are explained through an analysis that compared the two design studies with previous research on citizen participation projects and online communities. Results highlight the importance of frequent project communication, multiple ways of participation, software usability, and interaction and collaboration between the members, while indicating disengagement factors such as lack of time, interest and confidence. Different categories of learning are identified (activity, on-topic and community), emphasizing the understanding of inquiry activities as part of a complete scientific process and the balance between fun and learning. The thesis concludes with design considerations for the creation of future Citizen Inquiry and other citizen participation communities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: citizen inquiry; online community; inquiry learning; citizen science; citizen participation; community engagement; design-based research; crowdsourced design
Academic Unit/School: Learning Teaching and Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning Teaching and Innovation (LTI)
Item ID: 47451
Depositing User: Maria Aristeidou
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2016 11:25
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2017 01:08
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/47451
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU