Do you have a CitSci project? As part of Salford Science Jam and Manchester Science Festival you have the opportunity to show off your hard work to the public. Or if you, your school or your group are new to ‘CitSci’, get stuck into the wonderful world of science and give it a go! However you’ve only got until the 31st of August to get your project in and have a stand ready in October to engage the public with your science. A huge part of science is talking to the general public about the developments of your work while getting people who wouldn’t see science as anything fun, excited about the boundless possibilities that it can present.
If you don’t yet know what citizen science is and fancy giving it a whirl (‘boffin’ status not necessary) here’s the low down:
[It is] a collection and data analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public. [Oxford Dictionary Online]
That’s it, really! The University of Salford would love projects to be collaborative in nature with people who are scientists working with non-scientists. Even if you don’t have fancy letters at the end of your name a well thought out project can do all the talking. Here at In\progress we’ve included some top notch tips to get you started.
Citizen Science Top Tips:
- Participate – Gather a group together. What excites you? What don’t you know? What questions can you ask? For example: “How many species of slugs are there in my garden?” , “What do slugs do?”, “How do I measure how people feel when they look at art?”.
- Collaborate – Is anyone you know a scientist, engineer, mathematician, a writer, a pharmacist, museum curator etc.? Can they help you find ways to answer your questions scientifically? If you don’t know someone personally, ask!
- Explore – “Where do I need to go to get my data?” and “How will I report it?”. So you could check out your schools nature garden, do a blind chocolate test…
- Test – Work out how you are going to test that data. In terms of method, time and quantity.
- Discuss – What have your findings shown you? Work it out and discuss that with the public at Salford Science Jam.
- Ask – Get on Twitter, email a scientist, chat to anyone who you think could give you ideas towards your project.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of citizen science here are some projects/organisations to get stuck into:
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – Get out those binoculars and see if you can identify any unusual birds.
RSG – National Schools Geology Challenge – Get presenting your findings just like you would a proper geologist and see if you make it to the final seven teams.
Citizen Science Alliance – An international spread of internet based citizen science projects anyone can get involved with! You can also find things on your doorstep.
British Science Association – Your one stop shop for all things STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the UK. Take a deep breath, dive in and seek some inspiration.
Citizen Science can involve the arts and humanities as well as science. It includes scientists and non-scientists. A project can be your own or part of a well known organisation. Just remember the power of discovery lies with you!
If you are interested fill out the form and you might get a chance to showcase your project at Salford University’s Media City UK campus. Home to the BBC, ITV and Lowery Theatre.