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Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2019-26
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2019-26
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 02 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscience Communication (GC).

Training citizen scientists through an online game developed for data quality control

Barbara Strobl1, Simon Etter1, H. J. Ilja van Meerveld1, and Jan Seibert1,2 Barbara Strobl et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, 8057, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, SE-750 07, Sweden

Abstract. Some form of training is often necessary in citizen science projects. While in many citizen science projects it is possible to keep tasks simple so that training requirements are minimal, some projects include more challenging tasks and, thus, require more extensive training. Training can hinder joining a project, and therefore most citizen science projects prefer to keep training requirements low. However, training may be needed to ensure good data quality. In this study, we evaluated if an online game that was originally developed for data quality control in a citizen science project, can be used for training for that project. More specifically, we investigated whether the CrowdWater game can be used to train new participants on how to use the virtual staff gauge in the CrowdWater smartphone app for the collection of water level class data. Within this app, the task of placing a virtual staff gauge to start measurements at a new location has proven to be challenging; however this is a crucial task for all subsequent measurements at this location. We analysed the performance of 52 participants in the placement of the virtual staff gauge before and after playing the online CrowdWater game as a form of training. After playing the game, the performance improved for most participants. This suggests that players learned project related tasks intuitively by observing actual gauge placements by other citizen scientists and thus acquired knowledge about how to best use the app instinctively. Interestingly, self-assessment was not a good proxy for the participants’ performance or performance increase. These results demonstrate the value of an online game for training, particularly when compared to other information materials, which are often not used extensively by citizen scientist. These findings are useful for the development of training strategies for other citizen science projects because they indicate that gamified approaches might provide valuable alternative training methods.

Barbara Strobl et al.
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Status: open (until 27 Jan 2020)
Status: open (until 27 Jan 2020)
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Barbara Strobl et al.
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CrowdWater game training study B. Strobl, S. Etter, I. H. J. van Meerveld, and J. Seibert https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3538008

Barbara Strobl et al.
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Short summary
We evaluated if an online game that was developed for data quality control in a citizen science project, can be used for training. More specifically, we investigated whether the CrowdWater game can be used to train new participants on how to use the virtual staff gauge in the CrowdWater smartphone app for the collection of water level class data. After playing the game, the performance improved for most participants. The results demonstrate the value of an online game for training.
We evaluated if an online game that was developed for data quality control in a citizen science...
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