University of Maryland

Doctoral Proposal Defense by Anne Bowser

January 27th, 2015 by
Doctoral Proposal Defense by Anne Bowser
Date: 2/4/2015 [Postponed; To be rescheduled]
Time: 2 pm
Place: Room 2116 Hornbake S. Wing
Title: Using Gamification to Inspire New Citizen Science Volunteers.
Citizen science involves the public in scientific research to meet real-world goals. To achieve desired outcomes, a sufficient number of volunteers must donate significant time and effort to citizen science activities; thus, volunteer motivation is a key concern. Gamification, or the use of game elements in non-game contexts, may help recruit and retain citizen science volunteers. But, some gamified applications– such as those that collect a user’s location– may raise significant privacy concerns.

The proposed research investigates the role that gamification can play in citizen science projects by studying Floracaching, a gamified location-based app. Floracaching is designed to engage a new audience, millennial college students, in an existing citizen science campaign. This research will also examine a specific aspect of gamification and Floracaching: missions, or directed activities associated with a specific goal and a reward. Research questions include:

·      Can gamification motivate millennials, a key demographic, to participate in citizen science?
·      Within the context of citizen science, can missions support player engagement?
·      Do millennials who use gamified, location-based citizen science apps like Floracaching express privacy concerns?

Voting Committee Members
Tammy Clegg
Jon Froehlich (Dean’s Representative)
Jennifer Preece (Advisor)
Katie Shilton
Andrea Wiggins
Non-Voting Committee Member
Derek Hansen (BYU)