What is Citizen Science?

Depression Detectives uses an approach called “user-led citizen science”.

Citizen Science

Simply put, citizen science projects invite the public to get involved in some way. Typically volunteers might collect or analyse data, such as

In most citizen science projects, the scientists ask the questions and the volunteers provide valuable data or processing time.

User-Led Citizen Science

Depression Detectives takes the concept a step further, into the realm of User-Led Citizen Science (or Radical Citizen Science): Depression Detectives volunteers will set the agenda:  they will choose questions the project will explore, they will design a research study and run it together with researchers. Hopefully they’ll also have some fun and meet some interesting people along the way. Each volunteer gives as much or as little time as suits them.

This way of doing a project is also sometimes called co-design.

Truly user-led citizen science is a niche field; Depression Detectives, and previous projects Parenting Science Gang and Nappy Science Gang are engaging in groundbreaking work in this respect.

More on Citizen Science

Can citizen science empower disenfranchised communities? Andrew Maynard, Director, Risk Innovation Lab, Arizona State University

Extreme Citizen Science: ExCiteS  UCL’s interdisciplinary Extreme Citizen Science research group