Methods Matter: Citizen Science Techniques For Exploring Our World

Citizen Science Techniques

Each of the thousands of citizen science projects are unique, yet many rely on similar techniques and methods.

Below, we highlight five that use some of the most popular methods including: the use of low cost, portable sensors; bioblitzes; bird banding; standardized surveys; and photography.

Find more than 1,600 projects and events in the SciStarter Global Project Finder.
The SciStarter Team

Photo: Kramer Lab
Small, portable sensors connected to your phone or computer are growing in popularity among citizen scientists. With this project, you can purchase a sensor to study photosynthesis. Get started!

Photo: NPS

Bioblitzes are fun events where volunteers and scientists find and identify as many species in an area as possible, often one day. The National Parks Service and the National Geographic Society are teaming up to host bioblitzes across the United States. Get started!

Photo: Allen Hirsch
Bird in Hand
Capture birds in mist nets, record information, band the birds, and release them so that they can be monitored. The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory will be hosting a bird banding demonstration on April 30Get started! 

Photo: WDNR
Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program
Precise, systematic surveys are an important technique used by many research projects. Carefully following a set of search methods leads to reliable data. Volunteers with this project use surveys to record the location and health of rare plants in Wisconsin. Get started!

Photo: NASA
The Lost Ladybug Project
Snapping and sharing pictures is a simple and effective way to contribute data to many projects, including this one. Take a picture of a ladybug, share it with this project, and they’ll keep track of the population and distribution of ladybugs. Get started! 

Citizen Science Day

SciStarter is a proud partner of Citizen Science Day, presented by the Citizen Science Association. This celebration kicked off on April 16 and runs thru May 21!

Check out this related video and Google Hangout produced by The Crowd & Cloud!


The Biodiversity Festival in Washington D.C. is in need of volunteers May 20-21. Email to sign up.

Share your photos using #MyCitSci on Twitter or post them on the SciStarter Facebook page! We’ll highlight them on our blogs, in May.
Looking for more citizen science news and stories? Check out our blog at

Categories: Biology, Citizen Science, Newsletter

About the Author

Arvind Suresh

Arvind Suresh

Arvind Suresh is science communicator and a former laboratory biologist, he has a Master’s degree in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He enjoys reading, teaching, talking and writing science. Connect with him on Twitter @suresh_arvind.