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Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies in the Turks and Caicos Islands: Using Qualitative Citizen Science to Discover Experiential Knowledge

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By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
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Abstract

Citizen science is a relatively young research field. Having ‘discovered’ it in a conference workshop, I thought it might be the answer to solving a problem I had encountered during my PhD studies – how to scale-up efforts to record valuable experiential knowledge. I planned to train citizen scientists to conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews so that they could gather local knowledge of climate change and adaptation strategies in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Quickly, I realised that previous citizen science projects had primarily asked members of the public acting as citizen scientists to contribute to quantitative data sets and rarely had academics attempted to use such individuals as interviewers. Referencing guidelines from a non-governmental organisation, I designed my own methodology. This case, a pilot study conducted in 2013, outlines the considerable challenges to conducting qualitative citizen science. While it concludes that it is too early to tell how useful the methodology may be when it comes to scaling-up experiential knowledge research, it does outline steps that can be taken so that the approach has the best possible chance of success in the future.

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