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Ways You Can Contribute to Scientific Research

a cute bird resizedWant to do something with your spare time that can help others? Get involved in a “citizen science project”. You don’t need a degree in science (or anything else) in order to participate. Consider contributing to any of the following projects.

It has been said that volunteering is good for you. People who volunteer their time and energy to help others experience some benefits themselves. Volunteering is a great way to boost self confidence, to fight depression, and to stay physically healthy. It is also a great way to make new friends.

The following science projects need people to help with research. These are not jobs – they are entirely volunteer situations. Which one can you contribute to?

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) wants to increase awareness and understanding of living nature through an Encyclopedia of Life that gathers, generates, and shares knowledge in an open, freely accessible, and trusted digital resource. You can help them to do it.

People submit and tag their videos, audio, and photographic observations of animals that they have recorded. Once it gets added to the EOL, the information in it can be used for scientific papers. It can also be used by scientists who require a lot of data in order to see if there are any patterns connected with a certain type of animal. There are several other ways to contribute your efforts to help the EOL.

The Baby Laughter Project is a scientific study of what makes babies laugh that is being run by the Babylab at Birkbeck University of London. They would like parents from around the world to submit videos, to fill out questionnaires, and to make “field reports” of their babies laughing. They are studying how babies learn about the world.

You can help. One way to help is to send them videos of laughing babies. Make a video of your baby while he or she is laughing. Post it online, and send the researchers a link to the video. They also want people to send them links to videos that they happened to find online that feature a laughing baby. Another option is for parents to fill out a “field report” that gives details about what made your baby laugh.

Do you enjoy watching the birds that visit your backyard? Consider tracking that data for eBird. It is a real-time, online checklist program, that was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.

You can help. Create a free account at eBird. Log in to submit your observations about the birds you saw. You can do that by filling out a checklist.

Image by Takashi Hososhima on Flickr.

Related Articles:

* Discover the Ocean This Summer: Marine Science Resources

* Teaching the Scientific Method

* Volunteering with Kids