Citizen science in the social sciences and humanities: the power of interdisciplinarity

Created Oct. 26, 2021, 12:21 a.m.
Updated Oct. 26, 2021, 12:21 a.m.

Citizen science evolved through multiple disciplinary manifestations into a new field of study and a participatory method of enquiry. While most citizen science projects take place within problem-focused natural sciences, social sciences and humanities help understanding the human dimension and open a broad methodological spectrum for enriching scientific research with new approaches and for boosting public participation. In this paper, we use a meta-synthesis approach to explore how citizen science is practised in the so far less addressed social sciences and humanities by focusing on the role of the citizens, the goals and approaches of the projects, the tasks in which citizens are engaged and their gains across projects of diverse disciplinary background. Our findings indicate that social sciences are gaining more acknowledgment within interdisciplinary citizen science projects by addressing ‘wicked’ problems of human behaviour and agency, while humanities are in quest of a better-defined locus in citizen science. We conclude that social sciences and humanities still face considerable barriers to infiltrate citizen science; the payoffs are substantial and already rewarding for several subfields in social sciences and humanities.

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Authors: B Balázs; K Vohland; L Tauginiené; E Butkevičienė; B Heinisch; M Daskolia; M Suškevičs; M Portela; B Prūse;
Publisher:Palgrave Commununications / Nature
Year of publication: 2020
License: Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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