SOEPpapers 666, 18 S.
Gert G. Wagner, Michaela Engelmann, Jan Goebel, Florian Griese, Marcel Hebing, Janine Napieraj, Marius Pahl, Carolin Stolpe, Monika Wimmer, Alexander Eickelpasch, Jürgen Schupp
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Up to now in the social sciences, what is known as citizen science—the involvement of interested citizens in scientific surveys—has been used relatively little as a method of empirical social research. While the “citizens’ dialogues” that are becoming more widespread in politics can be considered a kind of social scientific citizen science, the participants in these dialogues are not selected randomly from the population (as is the case in surveys) but volunteer to participate because of their interest in actively shaping the public sphere. However, the socio-structural characteristics of participants in citizens’ dialogues are usually unknown and therefore not statistically comparable with the characteristics of the population at large or of specific population groups. In the present paper, we report on a pretest conducted with visitors to the Long Night of the Sciences 2014 in Berlin (http://www.langenachtderwissenschaften.de/). At the event, visitors to the event—who are a kind of citizen scientists—were surveyed on socio-structural characteristics and were also asked whether they would be willing to take part in later focus group discussions. The survey was conducted with 31 participants (out of a total of around 150 visitors to DIW Berlin on the evening of the event), who answered questions on their socio-economic characteristics. Of these, eight individuals agreed to take part in later, more in-depth (focus group) discussions. The technology developed for this paper introduces the survey to respondents, describes the recording and analysis the statistical results, and extends to a statement on data privacy and the computer-based survey itself.
Keywords: Citizen science, representativness, Lime Survey, SOEP, Long Night of Science
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