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Galaxy Zoo: Exploring the Motivations of Citizen Science Volunteers
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Figures

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Figure 1.

A screenshot of the Galaxy Zoo interface. Volunteers look at the galaxy in the center of the screen and determine its shape. They then click one of the six buttons on the right side of the screen to report their classification. Their report is written into a database and compared with the findings of other volunteers to create a database of galaxy morphologies

Image of Figure 2.

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Figure 2.

(a) Number of days since the launch of GZ1 versus cumulative number of registered users. The large jump in users on day 394 corresponds to press coverage of the discovery of a new object called “Hanny’s Voorwerp” (Lintott et al. 2009). (b) Number of days since the launch of GZ1 versus cumulative number of volunteer classifications. The same large jump on day 394 also appears in the number of classifications

Tables

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Table 4.

Frequency of motivations identified in respondents’ interviews or forum posts. Only motivations found by two or more of the three raters are counted. The 631 responses determined “non-pertinent/containing no motivations” by two or more raters were removed from the sample prior to calculating percentages. Percentages are based on the number of times among the 207 remaining responses containing a motivation. This includes both the forum posts and the 22 interviews. These frequencies do not indicate the frequencies that these motivations appear in the larger population, but they do give us confidence that these motivations are present in the larger population.

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Table 1.

Volunteers interviewed for this study. The table shows the interview code used by the authors, the type of interview (IM or Phone), and the interviewee’s age, gender, country of residence, and occupation (occupations were adapted from volunteer self-reports except where in quotes)

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Table 2.

Initial categorization scheme for motivations developed by each rater. The table gives the rater’s name for the motivation category and a typical statement of motivation from that category. (a) Schema of rater #1, (b) Schema of rater #2, and (c) Schema of rater #3

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Table 3.

Final motivation categories that arose during the interviews, selected after discussion among the three raters. The table shows the motivation category name as used by the research team and the one-sentence description of the category used in the survey.

Abstract

The Galaxy Zoo citizen science website invites anyone with an Internet connection to participate in research by classifying galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. As of April 2009, more than 200,000 volunteers have made more than 100 million galaxy classifications. In this article, we present results of a pilot study into the motivations and demographics of Galaxy Zoo volunteers and define a technique to determine motivations from free responses that can be used in larger multiple-choice surveys with similar populations. Our categories form the basis for a future survey, with the goal of determining the prevalence of each motivation.

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Scitation: Galaxy Zoo: Exploring the Motivations of Citizen Science Volunteers
http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aas/journal/aer/9/1/10.3847/AER2009036
10.3847/AER2009036
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