Introduction to Citizen Science: First steps in a participatory research process


"Citizen Science" enables the involvement of citizens in scientific research projects. The range of such Citizen Science projects is wide and extends from selective involvement in data collection to the participatory co-creation of projects and knowledge. For example, local data can be collected, evaluated and interpreted, or collaboration with citizens can facilitate the development of socially relevant research questions. This course offers an introduction into Citizen Science by means of concrete examples of participatory projects from different disciplines. Interactively, we discuss goals and functions, type and intensity as well as challenges of practical implementation in the field. The course aims to encourage reflection on how knowledge (production) through research,  characterised by greater openness and participation of citizens could look like, and what advantages and challenges are associated with this. On a practical level, we work with criteria/principles as well as selected methods and tools to make one's own research more participatory. 

Participants will be given a small assignment in preparation for the course and a follow-up assignment after the course. The preparation and follow-up work is mandatory.

Learning objectives  


  • get an overview of the current Citizen Science debate and know the main arguments/ positions,
  • know different fields of application and approaches of Citizen Science as well as selected methods and tools, and their limits and possibilities (advantages and disadvantages),
  • know selection criteria and principles to better decide when Citizen Science/participative methods are useful for a concrete, own research project.

Dr. Susanne Tönsmann, Participatory Science Academy;
Dr. sc. ETHZ Ruth Förster, dr. ruth förster – training & beratung, lecturer ETH Zurich

Target participants  

Doktorierende und Post-Doktorierende aller Fakultäten (UZH und ETH Zürich)


18 February 2021 9:00 – 17:30

25 February 2021 9:00 – 17:30


Registration fee  

There is no registration fee for this course.

Contact person   Eric Alms, Graduate Campus