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Help participants submit their data - Citizen Science Contest Answered

The SciStarter Citizen Science Contest is live! This is your opportunity to help millions of citizen scientists contribute to real scientific discovery. Make their experiences better by coming up with solutions to some real annoyances that hinder their participation. To get you started, here is a specific--and very real--challenge sent to us by project organizers.


Background: Project BudBurst engages the public in making careful observations of phenophases, such as first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening. Scientists compare this valuable environmental information to historical records and learn about the prevailing climatic characteristics in a region over time.

The Problem: Prospective and current volunteers are often unsure if they have correctly identified plants and phenophases. This may lead to them not submit the data they've collected. Other volunteers simply forget to add their data.

The Challenge: Find a way to encourage and remind participants to submit data after making field observations.

Enter now! Contest closes January 21, 2013


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When people sign up for Project Budburst, group them with other participants in a private forum, or as an email list, or some such thing. Groups could include 6-8 people. The participants could be encouraged to check identification with each other (I imagine questions like, "Okay, look at this picture. Do you think it's an X or a Y?"). They could also be encouraged to encourage each other to submit data, and could perhaps even get a non-monetary prize (an internet badge or something similar) if 100% of the group submitted data, or if theirs was the first group in the month to have everyone submit, or whatever. Something like this might add a bit of community-building, which might encourage more participation, a bit of competition and some peer-to-peer feedback.