The highest level(s) of influence this method typically matches with on the IAP2 public participation spectrum is…


To provide the public with balanced and objective information.


To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions.


To work directly with the public throughout the process.


To partner with the public in each aspect of the decision.


To place final decision making in the hands of the public.

Main Focus
Collect and compile input
Multiple days
Moderate (3 - 4) staff members
Low cost (under 10k)

Citizen science is the collection and analysis of scientific data in relation to the natural world, performed predominantly by citizens, usually in collaboration with scientists and field experts. By involving everyday citizens, organisations can exponentially increase and utilise their data sets, make new discoveries and ultimately gain new scientific knowledge.

What you'll need

In-person Delivery

  • Organisers on hand to respond to questions
  • Volunteer Citizen Science members 
  • Supporting materials (e.g. instructions sheets, identification guides and equipment) and protocols (for data collection and field work)
  • Method for capturing data (mobile surveys, iPads, paper surveys)
  • Geographic boundary for survey work

How to guide

Citizen science can be extremely effective, not only for carrying out environmental surveys, wildlife recording or monitoring, but also for engaging people with how science works and for increasing their awareness of local or global issues. It demonstrates how communities and organisations/governments can work together to share knowledge and create change.

The Australian Citizen Science Association, promotes 10 Principles of Citizen Science that align with community engagement core values.

  1. Citizen science projects actively involve citizens in scientific endeavour that generates new knowledge or understanding.
  2. Citizen science projects have a genuine science outcome.
  3. Citizen science provides benefits to both science and society.
  4. Citizen scientists may participate in various stages of the scientific process.
  5. Citizen scientists receive feedback from the project.
  6. Citizen science, as with all forms of scientific inquiry, has limitations and biases that should be considered and controlled for.
  7. Where possible and suitable, project data and meta-data from citizen science projects are made publicly available and results are published in an open access format.
  8. Citizen scientists are suitably acknowledged by projects.
  9. Citizen science programs offer a range of benefits and outcomes which should be acknowledged and considered in project evaluation.
  10. The leaders of citizen science projects take into consideration legal and ethical considerations of the project. 10 Principles of Citizen Science

Steps required to begin a citizen science project include:

  1. Establishing a project team
  2. Defining project aims and objectives
  3. Identify funding and resources
  4. Identify and understand target participants
  5. Design the project and data/tech requirements and supporting materials
  6. Develop, test and modify protocols
  7. Go live and promote and publicise the project
  8. Accept data and provide rapid feedback
  9. Plan and complete data analysis and interpretation
  10. Report results and share the data with all participants
  11. Evaluate to maximise lessons learned

See also Guide to Citizen Science

See more here on setting up your citizen science project