Enhancing STEM Motivation through Citizen Science Programs



Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU029030, EDU029010

Citizen science programs encourage the general public to help professional scientists to collect data for research studies through training protocol. Most recently, there has been an increase in adolescent student participation in citizen science programs. With the advent of citizen science as an educational platform, researchers have studied the ways this type of initiative influences interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This interdisciplinary edited book entitled Enhancing STEM Motivation through Citizen Science Programs merges research findings, theoretical understandings, and practical applications from the fields of citizen science and educational psychology. The work outlines effective components of citizen science initiatives for both formal and informal educational settings, which promote STEM motivation among youth.

Specifically, the chapters describe effective components of citizen science programs, curricula guidelines for K-12 and post-secondary courses, research findings on the impact of citizen science programs for student self-motivational beliefs, achievement, and STEM motivation, as well as guidelines for evaluating citizen science programs.

The overarching goal of this work is to encourage partnerships between educators, administrators, students, scientists, naturalists, and stakeholders interested in fostering student motivation in STEM areas through citizen science programs. This edited book is suitable for educators interested in providing students with opportunities to participate in citizen science as well as researchers of education, science, and educational psychology.
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Enhancing STEM Motivation through Citizen Science Programs: A Framework for Educators and Researchers
(Suzanne E. Hiller, Aubrey Whitehead and Anastasia Kitsantas, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, US)

Chapter 2. Keeping It Real: Maximizing the Authenticity of Citizen Science Experiences to Strengthen Youth STEM Interest, Identity, and Motivation
(Georgia Bracey, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois, US)

Chapter 3. Motivation Processes in Citizen Science Programs: Current Status and Future Directions
(Timothy J. Cleary, Jacqueline Slemp and Jamal Waire, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, US)

Chapter 4. Ensuring Healthy Social Dynamics and Motivation in Youth Citizen Science Programs
(Serena Shim and Hyunju Lee, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, US, and others)

Chapter 5. Empowering Young People through Co-Created Scientific Research
(Elizabeth A. C. Rushton and Becky Parker, Institute of Education, Institute for Research in Schools, University College London, London, England)

Chapter 6. Naturalists’ Perspectives of Outdoor Learning, Adolescents as Citizen Scientists, and Stem Career Motivation
(Suzanne E. Hiller and L. Earle Reybold, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, US)

Chapter 7. Student Motivation and Teacher/Scientist Collaboration in Citizen Science Programs: Making Science Learning Fun and Relevant
(Maria K. DiBenedetto and Dale H. Schunk, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, US)

Chapter 8. Science Educators’ Perspectives on Learning to Utilize Citizen Science in Our Teaching
(Lacey Huffling, Heather Scott, Regina Collins, Britt Gantt, Hayward Johnson and Melissa Weeks, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, US)

Chapter 9. Scientific Discovery in the Science Classroom via Contributions to Citizen Science
(Carie Cardamone and Bethany Cobb Kung, Tufts University, Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts, US, and others)

Chapter 10. I Didn’t Know What Real Science Was or What It Could Be: Citizen Science and Interest in Stem Education and Careers
(Michele Hollingsworth Koomen, Mary Norell Hedenstrom, Molly Moran and Karen S. Oberhauser, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, US, and others)

Chapter 11. Using Mobile Learning and Authentic Practice in Citizen Science Contexts to Foster Stem Interest in High School Students
(Duane E. Wallace and Alec M. Bodzin, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, US)

Chapter 12. Citizen Science in Higher Education: Evaluating Collaborative Practices
(Lisa Lobel, Elisabeth Cianciola and Jason Erichsen, Wheelock College, Boston, Massachusetts, US, and others)

Chapter 13. An Impact-Driven Approach to Evaluating Citizen Science Programs for Youth
(Stephanie Downey and Emily Skidmore, Randi Korn & Associates, Inc.)

Chapter 14. Evaluating the Impacts on Young People and Their Teachers Who Participate in Genuine Scientific Research Whilst at School
(Elizabeth A. C. Rushton and Becky Parker, University College London, Institute of Education, Institute for Research in Schools, London, England)

About the Editors



“Hiller, Kitsantas, and their collaborators have amassed an important new resource on citizen science programs which encourage students and the public to engage directly with scientists in studying large-scale scientific problems all around us. Such programs provide hands-on opportunities for students to engage directly with scientists in participating and demystifying the research process, which could encourage greater awareness and critical understanding about our environment and ultimately inspire future generations of scientists.” – Victor B. Sáenz, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Educational Leadership and Policy, The University of Texas at Austin

“This book is an excellent resource for educators, researchers, teachers, and various other stakeholders who desire to enhance students’ engagement and learning in science through citizen science programs. The chapters clearly tie to gather elements of citizen science with motivational theory, providing insights into how motivational theory can be effectively leveraged to create and effectively utilize citizen science programs to support youths’ science interest, engagement, and learning.” – Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, Ph.D., Professor, Educational Psychology & Educational Technology, Michigan State University

“Enhancing STEM Motivation through Citizen Science Programs by Suzanne E. Hiller and Anastasia Kitsantas is a gold medal winner by merging citizen science and educational psychology. This must-read, easy-to-understand, motivational, and practical book provides a new vision of how theorists, science educators, and school personnel could encourage STEM career motivation for adolescents.”  Héfer Bembenutty, PhD, Assistant Professor and Department Chair of the Assessment Committee, Department of Secondary and Youth Services, Queens College of The City University of New York, USA


Researchers, practitioners, evaluators of informal learning programs, university professors.


STEM, citizen science, self-regulation, self-efficacy, interest, motivation, achievement

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