Evaluating the Motivations, Knowledge, and Efficacy of Participants in Environmental Health Citizen Science Projects
AuthorSandhaus, Shana Alysse
AdvisorRamirez, Monica D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEnvironmental research is increasingly using citizen scientists in many aspects of projects, such as data collection and question design. To date, only a limited number of co-created citizen science projects where community members are involved in most or all steps of the scientific process have been completed, and few comparing community engagement methods and efficacy and learning outcomes across demo- and geographic data. This study compares two citizen science programs, evaluating what motivates citizen scientists to participate in environmental health research and whether participation affects scientific knowledge and environmental behavior and efficacy. Participants in the Gardenroots: A Citizen Science Garden Project completed sample collection training and submitted soil, water, vegetable, and dust samples for analysis and received their environmental monitoring results. In the Facilitating Community Action to Address Climate Change and Build Resiliency in Southern Metropolitan Tucson project, Spanish speaking community members of South Tucson underwent training in climate change and environmental quality and sample collection, and worked with families in the South Tucson community, collecting soil and water samples and providing environmental health education. For both projects, participants completed a pre- and post-survey with a variety of qualitative and quantitative questions. These survey instruments were used to evaluate differences in environmental self-efficacy and motivations. In addition, select Gardenroots participants were involved in focus groups and semi-structured interviews to understand and gauge changes in knowledge and to further explore changes in motivation and self-efficacy. The participants were primarily internally motivated and saw increases in both efficacy and knowledge as a result of participation in the program. This information is critical to moving citizen science efforts forward and determining whether such projects: 1) co-produce environmental monitoring, exposure assessment, and risk data in a form that will be directly relevant to the participant's lives, 2) increase the community’s involvement in environmental decision-making, and 3) improve environmental health education and literacy in underserved communities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil, Water & Environmental Science