Crowdsourcing in Research Method News
Crowdsourcing (Howe, 2008) is the term of used for methods of data creation, where large groups of users who are not organised centrally generate content that is shared. From direct public involvement via citizen science initiatives, such as the well documented Galaxy Zoo, through to simply tapping into online data feeds, we are arguably in a new era of volunteered information and knowledge creation.
The notion that there might be value in harvesting the knowledge of individuals is based on the observation that, although large in number of individual estimates may be incorrect, their average can be a match for expert judgment. Judiciously handled, randomly sampling the opinions or calculations of a large number of users might lead to data and information that is surprisingly accurate and that, in some cases, cannot be recorded in any other way (Surowiecki, 2004)……
We discuss in brief the issues and opportunities surrounding crowdsourcing in this months newsletter from the National Centre for Research Methods: