The Open UniversitySkip to content

Online Citizen Science: A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy

Aristeidou, Maria and Herodotou, Christothea (2020). Online Citizen Science: A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 5(1) pp. 1–12.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB) | Preview
URL: https://theoryandpractice.citizenscienceassociatio...
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Participation in online citizen science is increasingly popular, yet studies that examine the impact on participants’ learning are limited. The aims of this paper are to identify the learning impact on volunteers who participate in online citizen science projects and to explore the methods used to study the impact. The ten empirical studies, examined in this systematic review, report learning impacts on citizens’ attitudes towards science, on their understanding of the nature of science, on topic-specific knowledge, on science knowledge, and on generic knowledge. These impacts were measured using self-reports, content analysis of contributed data and of forum posts, accuracy checks of contributed data, science and project-specific quizzes, and instruments for measuring scientific attitudes and beliefs. The findings highlight that certain technological affordances in online citizen science projects can cultivate citizens’ knowledge and skills, and they point to unexplored areas, including the lack of experimental and long-term studies, and studies in formal education settings.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2020 The Authors
ISSN: 2057-4991
Keywords: informal learning; learning outcomes; evaluation; data collection; online citizen science; volunteers
Academic Unit/School: Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
Item ID: 70067
Depositing User: Maria Aristeidou
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2020 15:49
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2020 06:32
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

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