Participant ownership: Co-evaluation aims for co-ownership. Ownership of the co-evaluation process should not be left to project managers or an external entity. Instead, citizen science participants take certain actions and responsibilities for project activities and outcomes and hence for their assessment. Be aware that ownership in evaluation tends to be taken gradually and may lead to a shift from individual expectations of participants towards a more collective and strengthened view on expected project outcomes.
- Provide participants with the option to gradually take responsibility in the evaluation process. Similarly, offer project leaders the option to gradually pass responsibility to others. Create reflexive niches for participants where ownership can evolve and be distributed gradually.
- Make sure to prioritise expectation management, especially when citizen scientists take greater ownership, as participant expectations in terms of impact assessment may go beyond the project’s scope. Discuss potential boundaries openly in the project.
- If possible, identify and support advocates of co-evaluation from within the participants’ community. They can become co-evaluation champions who drive the process as community members and pass on their knowledge to others.
- Familiarise actors from specific interest groups and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with the evaluation process, and possibly engage them as well, to make sure that participant ownership can be continued even after the research intervention. This should be addressed early on.