Educational backgrounds, project design and inquiry learning in citizen science

Richard Edwards, Diarmuid McDonnell, Ian Simpson, Anna Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


Two overlapping currents of research and practice influence this chapter. The first current is the massive growth of citizen science around the world - the participation of volunteers in authentic scientific research projects. There is a huge diversity of citizen science project designs and the possible contributions of volunteers vary accordingly. Arguably, these volunteers can be said to be engaged, to different degrees, in inquiry-based learning simply through the practices in which they participate. The second current is the ongoing work to promote inquiry-based learning in science education and beyond. It might seem strange that such work is necessary, given that many might assume that learning science entails learning scientific methods - to do science is to inquire into phenomena. However, over recent decades and in many countries, there has been a tendency for the teaching of science to move away from teaching the practices of scientific method to learning about science and the scientific method, or learning about the history of science. In this situation, learning science does not entail developing the practices of scientific inquiry. Engaging volunteers in citizen science, therefore, might be positioned as an alternative route through which people can learn science and the practices of science, rather than learning about it, thus the interest of those researching inquiry-based learning in citizen science.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCitizen inquiry
Subtitle of host publicationsynthesising science and inquiry learning
EditorsChristothea Herodotou, Mike Sharples, Eileen Scanlon
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315458601
ISBN (Print)9781138208681, 978138208698
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


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