Community Citizen Inquiry: The Case of nQuire

Scanlon, Eileen; Herodotou, Christothea and McLeod, Kevin (2023). Community Citizen Inquiry: The Case of nQuire. In: Proceedings of the European Distance and eLearning Network Conference 2023, 18-20 Jun 2023, Dublin, pp. 357–362.



Community citizen science inquiry is a combination of two ideas: first, citizen science inquiry (mass participation citizen science and learning to be a scientist through scientific inquiry, (Herodotou et al, 2017), and a concern to involve participation by the members of a community for community purposes. We describe the work we have done on this topic developing from our initial experiments in supporting inquiry learning with school children using technology and describing how this work has developed through conducting a number of studies involving students in a university technical college, and distance education students, then widened into investigation of the ideas with members of the public conducting citizen inquiries. These experiences have been supported by the development of the web platform nQuire ( which is now the basis of our work.

Our approach to citizen inquiry is driven by a concern for the nature of the participation from which members of the public can benefit and goes beyond involving people solely as volunteer data collectors. We report here on our experiences of the different types of inquiries or missions which have run on the platform since 2018, and the views of some participants on their involvement. We also discuss the issues in developing our vision of community citizen science inquiry and a potential centre for democratising research.

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