Citizen Sensing: An Action-Orientated Framework for Citizen Science

Saskia Coulson (Lead / Corresponding author), Mel Woods,

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)
    80 Downloads (Pure)


    Citizen Sensing, a correlative of Citizen Science, employs low-cost sensors to evidence local environmental issues and empowers citizens to use the data they collect. Whilst motivations for participation can vary, communities affected by pollution frequently have changemaking as their goal. Social innovation is closely aligned with citizen sensing, however the process of co-creating practices and solutions with citizens who wish to shape their world can be highly complex to design. Therefore, our research articulates an action-orientated framework which emerges from a 2-year pan European project by which follow-on communities may replicate sensing initiatives more easily. The authors examine five studies and explore the cross-cutting principles, phases, stakeholders, methods, and challenges which form this framework. The authors argue that whilst data collection and data awareness are crucial to the citizen sensing process, there are precursory and subsequent stages which are necessary to equip citizens to address complex environmental challenges and take action on them. Therefore, this paper focuses on the stages and methods which are distinctive to citizen sensing. It concludes with recommendations for future practice for citizen sensing and citizen science.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number629700
    Number of pages13
    JournalFrontiers in Communication
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021


    • action-orientated framework
    • changemaking
    • citizen science
    • citizen sensing
    • co-design
    • methods
    • social innovation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Communication
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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