Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Geology and Geography
This dissertation discusses the complex social relations that link citizen science, scientific literacy, and the dissemination of information to the public. Scientific information is not produced in value-neutral settings by people removed from their social context. Instead, science is a social pursuit and the scientist's social context is embedded in the knowledge produced. Additionally, the dissemination of this information via numerous media outlets is filtered through institutional lenses and subject to journalistic norms. As a result, the general public must be able to recognize the inherent biases in this information. Yet, the rates of scientific literacy in the U.S. are quite low, which suggests that people may not be capable of fully understanding the biases present. Furthermore, people tend to seek out sources that reinforce their values and personal perspectives, thus reinforcing their own biases. Improving scientific literacy allows people to see past these biases and translate media narratives in order to comprehend the facts and evidence presented to them. Citizen science is both an epistemological tool used by scientists to collect and interpret scientific data and a means to improve the scientific literacy of participants. Citizen science programs have the ability to generate real knowledge and improve the critical thinking skills necessary for the general public to interpret scientific information.
Wixom, Joshua A., "Climate Change, Capitalism, and Citizen Science: Developing a dialectical framework for examining volunteer participation in climate change research" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6966.