Parenting Science Gang uses an approach called “user-led citizen science”.
Simply put, citizen science projects invite the public to get involved in some way. Typically volunteers might collect or analyse data, such as
- recording birds species in their gardens
- surveying the coastline for seaweed
- analyzing NASA data to search for interesting objects in our solar system.
In most citizen science projects, the scientists ask the questions and the volunteers provide valuable data or processing time.
User-Led Citizen Science
Parenting Science Gang takes the concept a step further, into the realm of User-Led Citizen Science (or Radical Citizen Science): Parenting Science Gang volunteers set the agenda: they choose which questions the project will explore, they design experiments and run them, analyse the data and hopefully also have some fun and meet some interesting people along the way. Each volunteer gives as much or as little time as suits them.
Truly user-led citizen science is a niche field; Parenting Science Gang and Nappy Science Gang are engaging in groundbreaking work in this respect.
More on Citizen Science
Can citizen science empower disenfranchised communities? Director, Risk Innovation Lab, Arizona State University
Extreme Citizen Science: ExCiteS UCL’s interdisciplinary Extreme Citizen Science research group