From Bird Cams to Scientific Inquiry: Seeking greater understanding of experiences and outcomes that result from co-created scientific investigations

August 1st, 2017 | EVALUATION

Millions of people around the world watch live streaming wildlife cams, but they aren’t just watching: they are asking questions, trading information, and witnessing events that may be undocumented in the scientific literature. The goal of Bird Cams Lab was to design a digital space and framework enabling online communities to engage in a co-created scientific inquiry process utilizing wildlife cams to answer bird-related questions of common interest. To achieve this goal, the project engaged participants at every stage of the research processincluding observation, generating and selecting research questions, collecting data, reviewing and discussing findings, contributing to data reports, and sharing results with others. In doing so, Bird Cams Lab provided opportunities for bird cam watchers to satisfy their own curiosities, become invested in stages of research that are usually reserved for experts, and bring their own perspectives and experiences to the table in scientific investigations.

This report presents findings from the summative evaluation of the project, conducted by external research partners at Rockman et al. This evaluation effort includied a series of pre- and post-particiption surveys, post-participation interviews, and analysis of participation data. This report provides insights on co-created inquiry in comparison and contrast to other modes of public engagement with scientific processes and experiences.  



Team Members

Jennifer Borland, Evaluator, Rockman Et Al
Claire Quimby, Evaluator, Rockman Et Al
Miyoko Chu, Principal Investigator, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Tina Phillips, Co-Principal Investigator, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Rachael Mady, Project Manager, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Charles Eldermire, Project Staff, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Ben Walters, Project Staff, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
David Bonter, Co-Principal Investigator, Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning
Award Number: 1713225
Funding Amount: $1,686,458.00

Related URLs

Public Participation in Scientific Research: Designing an Online Collaborative System for Research & Learning Using Live Bird Cams


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Citizen Science Programs | Public Programs