Redistributing Power in Community and Citizen Science: Effects on Youth Science Self-Efficacy and Interest

May 1st, 2023 | RESEARCH

Youth-focused community and citizen science (CCS) is increasingly used to promote science learning and to increase the accessibility of the tools of scientific research among historically marginalized and underserved communities. CCS projects are frequently categorized according to their level of public participation and their distribution of power between professional scientists and participants from collaborative and co-created projects to projects where participants have limited roles within the science process. In this study, we examined how two different CCS models, a contributory design and a co-created design, influenced science self-efficacy and science interest among youth CCS participants. We administered surveys and conducted post-program interviews with youth participation in two different CCS projects in Alaska, the Winterberry Project and Fresh Eyes on Ice, each with a contributory and a co-created model. We found that youth participating in co-created CCS projects reflected more often on their science self-efficacy than did youth in contributory projects. The CCS program model did not influence youths’ science interest, which grew after participating in both contributory and co-created projects. Our findings suggest that when youth have more power and agency to make decisions in the science process, as in co-created projects, they have greater confidence in their abilities to conduct science. Further, participating in CCS projects excites and engages youth in science learning, regardless of the CCS program design.



Team Members

Sarah Clement, Author, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Katie Spellman, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Laura Oxtoby, Author, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Kelly Kealy, Author, Goldstream Group, Inc.,
Karin Bodony, Author, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Elena Sparrow, Author, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Christopher Arp, Author, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Identifier Type: DOI
Identifier: 10.3390/su15118876

Publication: Sustainability
Volume: 15
Number: 11
Page(s): 8876


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal Science Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 1713156

Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Navigating the New Arctic - Arctic Observing Network
Award Number: 1836523

Funding Source: NASA
Funding Program: NASA Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program
Award Number: 80NSSC22K1915

Funding Source: NASA
Funding Program: NASA Science Activation
Award Number: NNX16AC52A

Related URLs

Public Participation in Scientific Research: Arctic Harvest


Access and Inclusion: Indigenous and Tribal Communities | Rural
Audience: Adults | Educators | Teachers | Families | General Public | Learning Researchers | Scientists | Undergraduate | Graduate Students | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Climate | Education and learning science | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Citizen Science Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs