Historically, the majority of programming, evaluation, and research on citizen science has been led by academic institutions, frameworks, and approaches. Even when following culturally responsive techniques, this work has been informed by the world views and influence of dominant culture.
In view of the growing mistrust of science institutions, as well as the power inequities between these institutions and the community organizations needed to support community-focused projects, these establishment-led approaches rarely work.
We share a different model, led by 15 representatives from underserved communities. Our community-led approach aims to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR). We also document and self-reflect on the equitable co-creation of a community science project.
With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), we have co-created a framework to increase meaningful engagement of diverse audiences in science. Beginning September 2018 and over the next three years, we will ground-truth our framework as we co-create a model community science project, for use at the continental scale. The project will connect underserved communities with science in authentic ways, and produce research results and educational materials that directly benefit the participating communities. The project will bring awareness about noise pollution, an issue of concern identified by the communities, and promote wellbeing and connection with nature.
We intend to generate data that can potentially be used to change policy in neighborhoods where noise may be interfering with human health. Our co-created research will include methodologies that have the power to give voice to perspectives that have historically been silenced through traditional research. It can also be used to co-create more appropriate and relevant research metrics for use in future scientific studies.