Start the journey of exploration – Week 1

Before we officially start the internship, Rob, Heejun, Todd and me had a productive one-day face-to-face meeting on the beautiful campus of University of Massachusetts Boston last week. We reviewed the project background and goals together, then discussed the working plan for achieving the goals. Our work focuses on conducting a meta-analysis research on how citizen science projects use different mechanisms to guarantee or improve the data quality. We are also interested in knowing scientists and citizen scientists’ motivation to use and contribute data to citizen science projects respectively through the lens of data quality. I will work on both meta-analysis and motivation studies.

Our journey of exploration on papers mentioning “citizen science” and “data quality” start immediately after the face-to-face meeting. After Heejun, one of my teammate, get a fantastic excel list of paper names and publication information whose keywords include “Data Quality” and “Citizen Science” or “Volunteer Geographic Information” or “Volunteer monitor”. I downloaded a few the papers listed in the excel file and tried to score five papers (pilot coding) based on the framework of options for data quality suggested by Rob. The framework of options include 17 data quality control mechanisms summarized by Andrea Wiggins in her 2011 paper “Mechanisms for Data Quality and Validation in Citizen Science”. 

For the motivation study, I got a fuzzy list of citizen science projects from SciStarter and Citizen Science Central this week. There are more than 700 unique citizen science projects in total. After this list is cleaned, I will need to find a good way to categorize them, get a representative sample from them, and start to documenting their data quality control mechanisms (assuming each of them have at least one mechanism). At the same time, I will think scientists and citizen scientists’ potential motivation and how the the motivation could be related to data quality, such as a good data quality control mechanism will make scientists feel more confident when adopt citizen science in their studies, and make citizen scientists feel their could contribute some real useful scientific data for scientists.

Ok, so far so good. Looking forward a nice weekend and next productive week.

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