Citizen Science is the use of volunteers from the general public to collect and analyze scientific data.
The scientific field has become so vast that many of the world’s most important questions risk being unanswered, or worse, unasked. The amount of research required to solve scientific issues far extends what any individual can do on their own. Citizen science aims to solve this problem by “[harnessing] the power of people by crowd sourcing data collection and analysis.” (Metz, 2015)
Anyone can become a citizen scientist. Citizen scientists are volunteers who "collect and/or process data as part of a scientific enquiry." (Silverton, 2009) The number of projects that utilize citizen scientists is growing, especially in ecology and environmental science (Silverton, 2009). Citizen science is great opportunity to gain a variety of perspectives on scientific issues as well as for students to engage in and contribute to meaningful research.
Metz, S. 2015. Citizen science. The Science Teacher (National Science Teachers Association), 82(8), 6.
Silvertown, Jonathan. 2009. A new dawn for citizen science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24 (9): 467-71.