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ISSUE 29 - March 2021

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Motivations and Patterns of Engagement of CosmoQuest Participants (page 6)
Gugliucci, N.; Bracey, G.; Buxner, S.; Bakerman, M.; Gay, P.L.; Glushko, A.; Southard, H.; Breedon Smith, J.


Citizen science in astronomy involves the exchange of volunteer effort for scientific data or data analysis needed by researchers. In order to maximize the effectiveness of citizen science projects, the motivations of these volunteers should be understood as they initially draw volunteers into the project and encourage continued engagement. Through detailed interviews with 30 participants in an online astronomy citizen science project, we categorise initial motivating factors into intrinsic and extrinsic factors and reasons for ending participation into external and internal factors. We find that volunteers with more frequent engagement in citizen science tasks are more intrinsically motivated than those who participate less frequently. Our findings that infrequent visitors, who as a whole make a significant contribution to citizen science projects, are often extrinsically motivated reveals a need for both intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors to be built into a project and project communications in order to diversify the pool of volunteers and to maximise participation. In addition, we report on factors that led to citizen scientists stopping their engagement with a project over the short and long term.

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