Depression Detectives uses an approach called “user-led 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
- recording birds species in their gardens
- surveying the coastline for seaweed
- analyzing NASA data to search for interesting objects in our solar system.
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.
More on Citizen Science
Can citizen science empower disenfranchised communities? Director, Risk Innovation Lab, Arizona State University
Extreme Citizen Science: ExCiteS UCL’s interdisciplinary Extreme Citizen Science research group