Communication - Scivil

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Communication

Without communication, there is no citizen science. What all citizen science projects have in common, is a need for good communication. Communicating to recruit, engage, inform and educate citizens. Even communicating to thank them for their contribution after your project ends. Communication is key in all steps of the project.

Cover communication guide

The time that you have to invest in communicating with your target audience must not be underrated. Communication in citizen science is not a onetime event at the start of the project. Communication is a constant; before the start of the project, to entice people into participating in your project; during the project to educate participants, to keep them motivated and to answer their questions... and especially, don't forget to thank the volunteers after the project ends and keep them posted on project results.

The Scivil working group Communication and Participation wrote a practical guide to communication and engagement in citizen science. Download the guide for free here.

Iedereen Wetenschapper (Everyone Scientist) and SciStarter

If you are looking for (Dutch-speaking) participants in Flanders or the Netherlands, a good way to start is to add your project to the website of Iedereen Wetenschapper (Everyone Scientist) IedereenWetenschapper.be. In doing so, your project will reach thousands of enthousiastic volunteers, for free! Iedereen Wetenschapper can also help set up communication channels such as a newsletter, a Facebook page or by publishing an ad in the EOS magazine.

If you are primarily looking for English-speaking participants, a good way to start is to add your project to the international platform SciStarter. Other countries also have similar platforms that promote citizen science projects; Denmark, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland...

Reading tips

Emma Durham, Helen Baker, Matt Smith, Elizabeth Moore & Vicky Morgan, The BiodivERsA Stakeholder Engagement Handbook. (BiodivERsA, 2014)

Community Planning Toolkit: Community Engagement. (Community Places, 2014)

Hilary Geoghegan ea. Understanding motivations for citizen science. (UK Environmental Observation Framework, 2016)

Joe Cox, Eun Young Oh, Brooke Simmons e.a., Doing good online: the changing relationships between motivations, activity and retention among online volunteers. (Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2017) 

Carina Veeckman, Sarah Talboom, Liesbeth Gijsel, Hilde Devoghel & Annelies Duerinckx, Communicatie bij burgerwetenschap. (Scivil, 2019) (Dutch)

Wessel Ganzevoort, & Riyan Van den Born, Citizen scientists: Een onderzoek naar de motivaties en visies op data delen van vrijwillige natuurwaarnemers. (Radboud University, 2016) (Dutch)

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