Date of Original Version
Science progresses whenever new ways of explaining natural phenomena are revealed. New ideas can only be put to use after the results and significance of research have been brought to the attention of both the scientific and lay communities. The Milwaukee Public Museum Dig-A-Dinosaur Program is a model for scientists who want to conduct research as well as engage and educate the public in their field of study. An array of rewards is derived from including amateurs as members of a research team. Such collaborations strongly increase interest in and comprehension of science as a process. Active participation in scientific investigations promotes one's ability to grasp the logic employed to construct scientific knowledge. Derivative to this, people who experience research enthusiastically share what they learn with diverse audiences. Moreover, the productivity of the scientist can be significantly increased, as exemplified in an extensive paleoecological research project conducted by the authors. In retrospect, the project provided an educational experience for the volunteers that should have been formalized. It would certainly be appropriate to earn college credit based on participation and formalization would validate this learning experience.
Barreto, C., Fastovsky, D. E., & Sheehan, P. M.(2003). "A Model for Integrating the Public into Scientific Research," Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(1), 71-75. doi: 10.5408/1089-9995-51.1.71
Available at: https://doi.org/10.5408/1089-9995-51.1.71