Collaborative Research: Engaging Introductory Astronomy Students in Authentic Research through Citizen Science

Project: Research project

Project Details


Supporting the development of a scientifically literate society with a true understanding of what scientists do and how science works is crucial to the Nation’s health and economy. Introductory astronomy is often the last science course students take, yet the class generally provides little insight into the realities of being a scientist. The proposed project seeks to address this deficiency by introducing an authentic research experience for students into the introductory astronomy curriculum for non-majors. Building upon the success of the citizen-science project in engaging non-specialists directly in real research, this project will utilize the classification and meta-data exploration capabilities of the Zooniverse platform to enable students to carry out a semester-long project in an area relevant to contemporary astrophysics. Most students in introductory astronomy courses enter with little, or most commonly no, research experience. The proposed course curriculum will support students in building foundational research skills and practices through a series of in-class activities and working on a semester-long group research project outside of class. These activities will employ a state-of-the-art online platform to explore data collection and manipulation and the basics of data analysis and interpretation, all while addressing the core topics in the curriculum. The proposing team includes scientists, educators, and Zooniverse developers who have built tools designed to make authentic research accessible and who have significant experience supporting both undergraduate students and the general public through the full arc of the research process, from data collection to analysis and discussion to publication of results.
Effective start/end date10/1/159/30/18


  • National Science Foundation (DUE-1525725)


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