Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources
Citizen science has grown in the past decades to not only include everyday people in research, but also varying levels of engagement with diverse opportunities for participant learning and growth. However, few studies reflect the actual learning outcomes of educational citizen science specifically in youth. This single case study research study focuses on assessing learning and other outcomes of an environmental education, collaborative citizen science program with youth in Morgantown, West Virginia. In this study, a water quality monitoring citizen science program focused on Deckers Creek in Morgantown, WV was adapted for a high school afterschool club. Potential outcomes of the program were identified using environmental education theory and current citizen science frameworks. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants approximately one year and a half into the project to gauge participant outcomes. Open and axial coding was used to identify actual participant outcomes, then compared with those identified in the literature. Results of the interviews demonstrated that participants described a change in motivations to participate in the club, change in awareness of environmental issues of Deckers Creek, gain in knowledge related to science content and science process, an increase in self-efficacy related to science, and a change in actual and intended behavioral changes. Students were able to thoroughly describe water quality and watershed issues in Deckers Creek. By understanding participant outcomes, we can learn how a citizen science experience such as this one can contribute to learning in a non-formal education experience and potentially meet the goals of science education for youth.
Kaplan, Jessica, "A qualitative case study research investigation of youth outcomes during an Appalachian water-quality citizen science program" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7812.