Hi! My name is Freya and I'm a final year student at Bath Spa University. I am writing my dissertation on the subject of citizen science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, I am evaluating the extent to which citizen science as a non-traditional data source could make a significant contribution to the monitoring and implementation of the goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 objectives laid out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These aim to cover the full range of worldwide issues that need to be addressed if we are to achieve good quality of life for all in a world free from the threats of climate change, war and damaging, unsustainable practices.
The goals are each split into specific targets and progress is tracked and monitored using statistical indicators - data sets created by combining data from a multitude of sources, mainly traditional (e.g. statistical offices and international organizations). These provide insights into the state of multiple aspects of countries, including social, environmental and economic issues.
The way in which citizen science could assist with the monitoring of the SDGs concerns the decisions and policies that can made once a sufficient amount of high-quality data from a multitude of sources is produced to be used as the SDG indicators. Citizen science provides an opportunity to add a cost-effective, non-traditional data source that can be used to fill the gaps left by traditional sources.
This study intends to make conclusions about how successful citizen science may be when used not only as a strategy for data collection, but as an initiative with which to educate, inspire and empower citizens by encouraging them to be part of scientific research.
My project involves conducting a questionnaire aimed at citizen science practitioners to gather opinions about which goals could most benefit from the use of citizen science in data collection. If you could spare about 15 minutes to complete this questionnaire, I would greatly appreciate it!