Community and Regional Planning Program


First Advisor

Zhenghong Tang

Second Advisor

Yunwoo Nam

Third Advisor

Rodrigo Cantarero

Date of this Version

Winter 11-21-2017


Wenqi Ou, Zhenghong Tang (2017) Evaluating Mobile-Based Citizen Science in Increasing Citizen Participants in Environmental Management


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor: Zhenghong Tang. Lincoln, Nebraska: November 2017

Copyright © 2017 Wenqi Ou


Mobile-based citizen science as thriving citizen education tool increases the non-expert citizen involvement in the scientific world by encouraging the public upload nature observation to assist scientific research while learning scientific knowledge. Mobile-base citizen science as social media has potential to facilitate citizen engagement in the environmental management. Based on the conceptual framework of citizen science incorporation with environmental management, large users in the program foster the citizen involvement in the environmental management. Research here applies SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) analysis to evaluate mobile based citizen science regarding data management, citizen participation, and partnership. It revealed the current status of mobile-based citizen including advantages and disadvantages. The simplicity of observation collection, public data accessibility, communication channel provided for participants and strong supporter or collaborative partners are effective in making citizen science strong candidate in engaging citizen into environmental management. However, there are absent of data quality filter, privacy protection and the fact that large registered users and data submission doesn’t lead to high citizen participation impede the development of mobile-based citizen science. Therefore, the suggestion for current programs is to obtain investment from other organizations or agencies to develop more effective strategies to keep and maintain participants. The results of this study proves that mobile-based citizen science has potential to engage citizens in environmental management, but they need the improvement of sustaining strengths and opportunity and removing weakness and threats.

Advisor: Zhenghong Tang