To date, much of the emphasis has been on developing the learning outcomes of science, with more recent interest in developing scientific literacy and scientific identity.

Science identity – the sense of who we are – is something that emerges through self-identification and identification with science and scientists. It is increasingly something that is learnt both formally and informally.

Obviously, there is not a single identity, and many people would, for example, view themselves as a chemist, ornithologist, biologist, etc. first and a scientist, second. In this sense, there can be many science identities to be learnt.

There is some interest in the inter-relationships between the engagement in science learning, science identities and what is referred to as science capital.

Science capital is the term used to describe the combined effect educational qualifications, social networks, dispositions and behaviours has among those working in or engaged with sciences. Science capital can be seen as a resource to support the development of science identities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, children of those families with most scientific capital are more likely to consider science education and a scientific career as an option for them.

Science capital helps explain the ways some people learn science, while others do not, and can also be considered a learning outcome its own right.

Citizen science projects can be part of a person's development of a science identity and science capital. Science capital can also be used to examine the differential demographic participation in citizen science projects.

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