Where the stayers came from: initial motivation and engagement of long-term participants in a citizen humanities project

  • S Wieman

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


With the rise of citizen science research, scientists have increasingly attempted to determine the factors that determine participants’ engagement in such projects to better predict and stimulate long-term commitment. Previous research on such engagement, often operationalising the construct as collections of motivations and activities, has shown how subgroups of long-term participants focus on different types of activities, whilst being mostly intrinsically motivated. However, research on citizen humanities projects as a subset of citizen science projects is scarce, and rarely touches on newcomer engagement in relation to long-term perspectives. This study uses interviews with 18 long-term participants of the citizen humanities project ‘Historische Database Suriname en Curaçao’ in a qualitative analysis to determine their initial motivations and behaviours. It shows that participants have intrinsic motivations in line with previous research, while sharing strong extrinsic motivations geared towards the project’s outcomes. Transcribing historical records, the main task in the project, is considered by all participants to be central to their commitment, regardless of their motivations and other activities. The study suggests ways of identifying potential long-term participants and highlights a need for more meta-research in the field of citizen humanities.
Date of Award20 Jul 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMontse Prats López (Examiner) & Roger Bons (Co-assessor)


  • citizen science
  • citizen humanities
  • engagement
  • motivation

Master's Degree

  • Master Business Process management & IT (BPMIT)

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