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Paper: Motivations and Patterns of Engagement of CosmoQuest Participants
Volume: 524, Advancing Astronomy for All (ASP 2018)
Page: 151
Authors: Bakerman, M.; Gugliucci, N.; Buxner, S.; Bracey, G.; CosmoQuest Team
Abstract: As participation in citizen science (CS) projects grows, the answer to the question of what motivates citizen scientists, and especially, what sustains this motivation, becomes increasingly important to understand. Several studies and previous survey data collected reported that motivations, and patterns of engagement, shift over time and these motivations may be correlated to patterns of engagement such as passive versus active participation. The application of citizen science in astronomy has increased in both numbers and types of projects in the last few years, prompting the desire to understand the motivations and patterns behind the public's engagement in science. This study investigated participants' responses related to motivations, length and frequency of engagement, and reasons for leaving the project. Through participant interviews, we explored how citizen scientists' engagement in science and astronomy activities relates to their motivations to participate in online astronomy citizen science projects. Using a thematic analysis approach and theoretical framework to classify participants motivators, we found that participants reported a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The most frequent motivator was “personal interest in astronomy” and the most frequent extrinsic motivator was “helping or giving back to science.” When compared to participants' reported frequency and duration of interaction, more frequent participants were more likely to list intrinsic motivators than those that were more sporadic.
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