Table 4. Relationships between public participation in research models and observed outcomes from five synthesis studies (Wilderman et al. 2004, Lawrence 2006, Fernandez-Gimenez et al. 2008, Danielsen et al. 2009, Bonney et al. 2009a)

PPSR model, by degree of participation
Contributory Collaborative Co-created
Outcomes for:
Individuals Low potential for enhancing stakeholder capacities*; increased content knowledge and science inquiry skills§; participant appreciation of complexity of ecosystems and ecosystem monitoring‡; indications of changes in attitudes across constituent groups‡; increased technical monitoring skills‡. Some potential for enhancing stakeholder capacities*; individuals develop intimate knowledge of place and strong sense of stewardship|; participant appreciation of complexity of ecosystems and ecosystem monitoring‡; indications of changes in attitudes across constituent groups‡; increased technical monitoring skills‡; increased participant confidence§; increased knowledge of science concepts and processes§; increased awareness of environmental issues§; increased appreciation of data collection concerns§. High potential for enhancing stakeholder capacities*; individual capacity to develop protocols, interpret data, and present results|; strong sense of community, commitment|; strong understanding of meaning of data|; meaningful participation in advocacy and decision making|; participant appreciation of complexity of ecosystems and ecosystem monitoring‡; indications of changes in attitudes across constituent groups‡; increased technical monitoring skills‡; increased science content knowledge§; increased science process skills, particularly for refining questions and interpreting data.
Science In developing countries, acknowledgement that local knowledge can be necessary for accessing data*; data precision and accuracy high*; high capacity to inform large-scale monitoring schemes*. In developing countries, acknowledgement that local knowledge can be necessary for accessing data*; data precision and accuracy high*; high capacity to inform large-scale monitoring schemes*; presentations at professional conferences|; efficient data collection at large scale|. Intermediate expectations of data precision and accuracy*; intermediate capacity to inform large-scale monitoring schemes*; laboratory experience for students|.
Social–ecological systems Decision-making slow to result*; increased understanding of the impact of management practices‡; fostered shared understanding of ecosystem assessments‡; some degree of increased trust among stakeholders‡; informal communication of monitoring results to community members‡; formal communication of monitoring results to partner agencies‡; some stewardship action and behavior change§. Decision-making slow to result*; citizens used data to testify at state-level hearings|; agencies used data to revise management practices|; participant gains in knowledge of community structure, environmental regulation, and management strategies§; agency acknowledgement of participant knowledge and credibility§; increased understanding of the impact of management practices‡; fostered shared understanding of ecosystem assessments‡; increased trust among stakeholders‡; formal and informal communication of monitoring results to community‡; increased social capital§. High potential for prompt decision-making*; outcomes including conservation easements, best management practices, and restoration projects|; funding secured for community initiatives|; increased capacity of university program to partner with community organizations|; participant gains in knowledge of community structure, environmental regulation, and management strategies§; increased understanding of the impact of management practices‡; fostered shared understanding of ecosystem assessments‡; increased trust among stakeholders‡; formal and informal communication of monitoring results to community‡.
Costs to:
Individuals/
communities
Intermediate* Intermediate*; resource intensive†; High*; responsible for volunteer recruitment and retention|; requires commitment to intensive consensus building process for goal setting|; responsible for planning for action outcomes during design phase, and implementing plan|
Researchers Intermediate* Intermediate*; resource intensive†; responsible for volunteer recruitment and retention, data analysis, interpretation, and dissemination|; limited technical training and support necessary| High to establish, low to maintain*; responsible for intensive support of community goal setting|; provide intensive technical training and support|; development of support strategies for community data analysis|
Compromises Data quality can decline if volunteers become complacent after repetitive tasks†; projects designed primarily by agencies or researchers have fewer opportunities for building trust, community, and social outcomes across stakeholder groups‡ May need to choose between precision and reliability, between data collection for scientific validity and data collection for education and empowerment† Likely a slower process|; outcomes more aligned with social change than with scientific precision|; projects designed primarily by citizens have fewer opportunities for building trust, community, and social outcomes across stakeholder groups‡
* Danielsen et al. (2009). Synthesis of robust outcomes data. Context: natural resource monitoring.
† Lawrence (2006). Case studies. Context: voluntary biological monitoring.
‡ Fernandez-Gimenez et al. (2008). Case studies. Context: community-based forestry.
§ Bonney et al. (2009a). Case studies, focused on informal science education outcomes. Context: public participation in scientific research.
| Wilderman et al. (2004). Observed outcomes across projects. Context: volunteer water quality monitoring.