Submitted by AJ Cann on Mon, 25/07/2022 - 10:08

New research examines what motivates people to record wildlife. More...

A study from Germany asked nearly 900 "citizen scientists" about their motivation for recording wildlife. Research of this sort is difficult because of the inevitable bias in being able to persuade people to complete questionnaires, so although this was a well-conducted investigation, the results need to be interpreted with caution. Survey respondents were most often motivated by improving species knowledge and supporting conservation, but there was no linkage between motivation and data collection methods. In contrast, variables related to experience and knowledge, such as membership of a natural history society, were linked with a greater propensity to conduct planned searches, during which typically all species were reported. Recorders like spending time outdoors and studying a particular location (perhaps their local patch) but are not motivated by meeting other people. On the other hand, natural history societies serve as both an important mechanism for generating valuable biodiversity data, but also as a mechanism for recruitment of volunteers to contribute data and share knowledge and expertise.

Key role of natural history societies

Decision-making of citizen scientists when recording species observations. (2022) Scientific Reports, 12(1), 1-11.