New publication investigates accuracy of citizen science with participants from Raseborg

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Researchers from Novia UAS, Ruslan Gunko and Patrik Karell have investigated the accuracy of citizen science with participants from Raseborg

Citizen science is changing society's contribution to research projects worldwide. Non-experts are no longer just spectators, they are active participants and supporters of scientific work.

Using citizen science, that is, data collected by laypeople, the opportunities to collect large-scale data on the environment are increasing. Such community-based and citizen scientific approaches can provide useful tools as local people can be trained to accurately take measurements that can be used in scientific studies. However, little is known about how well volunteer-based non-standard subjective assessments of the environment based on prior experience only and no training compare with scientifically measured estimates of that environment.

The paper “How accurate is citizen science? Evaluating public assessments of coastal water quality”, published in Environmental Policy and Governance, January 2022, tested how well measures of coastal water quality assessed by local inhabitants corresponds with objective water quality data collected using scientific instruments. Inhabitants and owners of the property in Raseborg had a chance to express their opinion about sea water quality by participating in an online questionnaire in 2018-19. The objective water quality data (collected by scientific instruments) was collected in mid-October 2019, which was the most representative time to reflect the overall status of waters within Raseborg.

“Our results showed that over 70% of the respondents assessed water quality in the right direction and almost 60% were correct in their estimates. We found that socio-demographic factors affect the assessments, but do not markedly improve reliability. We conclude that simple questionnaires can be used to assess general coastal water quality.”, says Ruslan Gunko, researcher at Novia UAS.

About the publication

  • Publication: How accurate is citizen science? Evaluating public assessments of coastal water quality
  • Authors; Ruslan Gunko (Novia), Lauri Rapeli, Matias Scheinin, Timo Vuorisalo, Patrik Karell (Novia)
  • First published: 03 January 2022 https://doi.org/10.1002/eet.1975
  • The research was funded by: Koneen Säätiö,Nordenskiöld-samfundet; Otto A. Malm Lahjoitusrahasto; Societatis pro Fauna et Flora Fennica


For more information please contact

Novia UAS, Ruslan Gunko (Ruslan.gunko@novia.fi)

Photo: Unsplash/@gunnarridder

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