A Q methodological approach to identify practitioners' viewpoints on citizen science in Dutch regional water resource management
E. Minkman1,2, M. M. Rutten1, and M. C. A. van der Sanden21Department of Water Resource Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 2628 CN, The Netherlands 2Department of Science Education & Communication, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 2628 CJ, The Netherlands
Received: 15 Jan 2016 – Accepted for review: 18 Jan 2016 – Discussion started: 29 Jan 2016
Abstract. Citizen science as a data collection method has gained popularity in various scientific fields and is considered by many as a potential means of effective science communication. In recent years, both practitioners and governments have started to use citizen science as a form of public participation. The governing body of the Dutch Water Authorities considers citizen science a possible solution for helping bridge the water awareness gap among the general public in order to better manage the pressures on the water governance system. The motivation of experts, and in particular practitioners, to engage in citizen science has seldom been studied. This article aims to pinpoint the various viewpoints of practitioners on citizen science in water quality monitoring at Dutch regional water authorities. A Q methodological approach was used because it allows a statistical analysis to be conducted with a small sample size. 33 practitioners at eight different water authorities ranked 46 statements from agree to disagree. Three factors were extracted using a factor analysis and were transformed into three narrative viewpoints. These viewpoints are: 1) understanding citizen science as a potential solution for achieving various goals, thereby encouraging citizen participation in data collection and analysis; 2) considering citizen science a method for additional, illustrative data; and 3) viewing citizen science primarily as a means of education. These viewpoints show practitioner’s support for citizen science, although no support for higher levels of citizen engagement were found. These findings not only demonstrate the potential interest of the Dutch water authorities in using citizen science, but the identified viewpoints can be used to enhance the design of citizen science projects.
Minkman, E., Rutten, M. M., and van der Sanden, M. C. A.: A Q methodological approach to identify practitioners' viewpoints on citizen science in Dutch regional water resource management, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-26, 2016.