Citizen Science Toolkit

A Purpose

First you will need a question, my purpose in creating this website is clearly defined on my homepage. Then you will need to determine how you will go about answering it. Keep it simple!! Healthier Bees, Better Overwintering, Best Forage, Best Equipment to use, etc...

Review Existing Studies and Research Papers

Don't re-invent the wheel, but learn from studies and research that have already been done. It may answer most of your questions or it may lead you to a subject that has never been studied. It will give methods you can use to run your analysis or ways to collect data. Connecting the dots between various studies can provide you with the missing links or develop new possibilities to explore. A useful tool that I have started using is Google Scholar. It lets you search scientific literature, bookmark papers for later reference, find scanned versions of many "old" studies and scientific publications.

Data Collection Approach

To study any topic, the researcher requires access to data to review. Some of this data is collected directly from other beekeepers via "surveys", from recorded activities (inspections logs, flower bloom dates), from data collectors (personal weather stations, historical weather data, hive temperature/humidity and weight data) and from testing (Nosema Spore counts (microscopy), Mite monitoring).

I have developed several approaches and templates to assist me in collecting consistent data from other beekeepers and ensuring that I consistently collect data from my field observations. This data also needs to be stored and easily accessible. I have found that google tools (sites, Drive, Sheets, Forms and Slides) have provided me an efficient way of managing and storing this information.

Google Forms

Google Forms are used to create "surveys" to collect responses from users or yourself to a set of defined questions. All results are automatically inserted into a live sheet (google's version of Excel). This allows me to easily collected and then visualize this information. I use it for registering beekeeping course participants and then tracking payment and misc details (emailing lists, special requests, course expectations). Sample here!

Another application for Google Forms is to capture observations or record activity results (Hive inspections). This allows you to quickly collate results into a "sheet". It could technically be used to gather information from multiple beekeepers into a common shareable spreadsheet that can then be analyzed. The forms tool even allows you to add a function to upload files with the form during completion (images, pdf, and any other misc document). Sample here!

Other Google Tools

Google Sheets, Docs and Slides are equivalent to Excel, Word and PowerPoint. These can be used to calculate, chart and report and present results. All these tools are easily integrated into Google Sites which can be used to created simple websites (similar to this one).

Data Logging

Several Beekeeping specific data logging tools can be used to collect internal hive measures (weight, temperature and humidity). Your own or your neighbours weather station can be used to gather relevant local weather data. Refer to my Hive Monitoring page for an example.

Other useful tool

Home Microscopy

Honey Testing (Professional Laboratory)

National Bee Health Diagnostic Center