Many citizen science projects have been able to show that participants come away from their experience with a better understanding of science and its process. However, there is yet to be much evidence to show changes beyond this, for example, participants having more awareness of the nature of science, or changing their own behaviours as a result of taking part in a citizen science project. These broader outcomes are difficult to measure, in particular, measuring any increase in the participants’ positive views on science, or using the skills learnt in other aspects of their lives.

One major reason for this is the shortage of valid and accessible measures, and so a National Science Foundation funded project, DEVISE, was created, which tested, and disseminated a suite of tools for use by people who are designing and managing citizen science projects.

The User's Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes from Citizen Science has been developed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology for practitioners who want to evaluate learning outcomes from their citizen science projects. It includes a practical overview of evaluation techniques, best practices for conducting evaluations, a glossary of terms, and an extensive set of templates and worksheets to help with evaluation planning and implementation.

Find out more about the Enhancing informal learning through citizen science partnership.