Capturing and communicating impact of citizen science for policy: A storytelling approach

Uta Wehn (Lead / Corresponding author), Raquel Ajates, Dilek Fraisl, Mohammad Gharesifard, Margaret Gold, Gerid Hager, Jessie Oliver, Linda See, Lea Shanley, Michelle Ferri, Camden Howitt, Martina Monego, Ellen Pfeiffer, Chris Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


In response to the need for approaches to understand how citizen science is currently influencing environmental policy and associated decision making, we devised the Citizen Science Impact StoryTelling Approach (CSISTA). We iteratively designed instruments to be used as tools primarily for citizen science practitioners seeking to understand or communicate policy impacts. We then trialled the CSISTA and associated instruments on four exemplary citizen science initiatives, using different forms of inquiry and collaboration with respective initiative leaders. In this paper, we present CSISTA, with details of the steps for implementing inquiry and storytelling instruments. Additionally, we reflect on insights gained and challenges encountered implementing the approach. Overall, we found the versatility and structure of CSISTA as a process with multiple guiding instruments useful. We envision the approach being helpful, particularly with regards to: 1) gaining an understanding of a citizen science initiative's policy and decision-making impacts; 2) creating short policy impact stories to communicate such impacts to broader audiences; or 3) fulfilling both goals to understand and communicate policy impacts with a unified approach. We encourage others to explore, adapt, and improve the approach. Additionally, we hope that explorations of CSISTA will foster broader discussions on how to understand and strengthen interactions between citizen science practitioners, policy makers, and decision makers at large, whether at local, national, or international scales.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113082
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date23 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Citizen observatories
  • Citizen science
  • Impact assessment
  • Policy
  • Storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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