Citizen science is the public involvement in the discovery of new scientific knowledge. A citizen science project can involve one person or millions of people collaborating towards a common goal. It is an approachable and inclusive movement, making it an excellent option for anyone looking for ways to get involved and make a difference.
The Field Guide to Citizen Science (Workman Press), by Darlene Cavalier, Catherine Hoffman, and Caren Cooper, provides everything you need to get started. You’ll learn what citizen science is, how to succeed and stay motivated when you’re participating in a project, and how the data is used. The fifty included projects, ranging from climate change to Alzheimer’s disease, endangered species to space exploration, mean sure-fire matches for your interests and time. Join the citizen science brigade now, and start making a real difference!
Former editor in chief of Discover Magazine, Corey Powell, named the Field Guide to Citizen Science one of “Seven Books, and a Universe Worth of Perspective” in his 2020 post on an “all-ages reading list to expand the way you look at the world around you”:
Perhaps the most powerful way for science to change your perception of the world is for you to do it yourself. That’s the underlying theme of this friendly how-to overview of the citizen science movement. These days, it’s not difficult to find a citizen science project to participate in; just Google the term and many projects pop up instantly. The harder part is knowing where to begin, and believing that your own small efforts can make a meaningful contribution to serious research project. This book can help.
The Field Guide is divided by settings rather than by field, to help you find the kind of project that suits your schedule and your lifestyle. Want to work with your community? Your school? Alone, online? Out in the field? There are options for all of these. Darlene Cavalier (who worked for Discover organizing public events) created SciStarter.org, which expands on the resources here. As with every great adventure, you just have to take the first step to get going.