Wikiversity:Fellow-Programm Freies Wissen/Einreichungen/Should I stay, or should I go? – Exploring determinants influencing peoples’ decision to withdraw from scientific research projects

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Should I stay, or should I go? – Exploring determinants influencing peoples’ decision to withdraw from scientific research projects[Bearbeiten]


Problem statement and research question:
Crowd science and citizen science are two open science approaches allowing non-scientists to engage in science and thus, openly and interactively co-create and share knowledge with others. This is a meaningful development to encounter increasing public’s distrust in science and scientific knowledge as expressed for example by events like the “flat earth convention” or persistent arguments against human-caused global warming or the disease-preventing effects of vaccines. But opening the research process is only one part of the bilateral relationship. The other part is the necessary willingness of the public to engage with science and hence, take part in scientific projects to share their knowledge, skills, and opinions. While reasons for people’s decision to engage in scientific projects are subject of pioneering research[1] [2] reasons for withdrawing from a participation remain widely unknown. This project wants to add to this increasing body of research by taking a complementary perspective aiming to explore and structure reasons behind non-scientists’ decision to withdraw from an initiated participation in a scientific project, as well as their motivations behind their decision to come back and continue their submission. Therefore, this project addresses the following research question: What are the reasons for potential participants a) to withdraw and b) to come back after withdrawing from their initiated participation in a scientific research project such as citizen or crowd science?

Planned methods and research approach:
The major challenge of this project is to get insights on the opinions from people who withdrew or withdrew and came back to continue their participation. This requires a thorough investigation to identify suitable projects differing with regards to their content and their degree of public involvement. In addition, these projects must have and be willing and able to share the information about their dropouts and comebacks. Furthermore, a qualitative approach is most suitable as the number of potential interviewees is limited. Hence, an in-depth analysis is applied to gain an understanding of each person’s motivations and decision-making to withdraw their participation with or without returning. Afterwards, a multi-stage coding procedure will be used to extract major reasons for participants’ decisions. I am planning to develop an open data analysis process for this purpose. Therefore, I am looking forward to the chance to learn from the fellow program’s activities and mentors about options how this process could be established.


  1. Nov, O., Arazy, O., & Anderson, D. (2014). Scientists@ Home: what drives the quantity and quality of online citizen science participation?. PloS one, 9(4), e90375.
  2. Tinati, R., Luczak-Roesch, M., Simperl, E., & Hall, W. (2017). An investigation of player motivations in Eyewire, a gamified citizen science project. Computers in Human Behavior, 73, 527-540.


  • Name: Susanne Beck
  • Institution: LBG Open Innovation in Science Center (OIS Center)
  • Kontakt: