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DRAW (Data Rescue: Archives & Weather) is a citizen science project that asks the Canadian public to take part in transcribing millions of meteorological observations recorded between 1871 and 1963 at McGill University’s Observatory in Montreal, Quebec, which was demolished in 1963. We examine how classroom-based curricula can integrate citizen science so youth can learn more about their community via engagement with the local history of weather conditions and impacts. Conducted in March 2018, this research examined knowledge translation during a three-week course module through written reflections, classroom video footage, exit interviews, and a final group research assignment. We worked with 21 students—16- to 20-year-olds enrolled in a social science research methods course at Dawson College, a two-year collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (college of general and vocational education) that attracts local students and is a funded part of education in the province of Quebec. We found knowledge translation was facilitated by student engagement with their community’s history and appreciation for aiding credible scientific research. Knowledge translation suffered from attempts to include archival records that could be difficult to find, access, and read. Our work showed that citizen science, as a vehicle for community engagement and scientific literacy, requires considerable contextualization, for example, the use of frequently asked questions, tutorials, and blogs for context, and historical context to ensure knowledge translation takes place.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
900 kB



  • Alternative title
    • Building Knowledge Translation Via Classroom-Based Citizen Science

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 13

  • Issue
    • 3

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Acknowledgements: The Fonds de Recherche du Québec–Nature et Technologies (FQRNT) and Supporting Active Learning and Technological Innovation in Studies of Education (SALTISE) Mini-Grant Program supported this work. We would also like to thank all the members of the Data Rescue: Archives and Weather (DRAW) project. Ethics: This study, pre-tests and pilot research were each approved by the appropriate McGill University Research Ethics Board (File Number 444-0418) and Dawson College Research Ethics Board (Application ID: 180129). All student participation in this research was voluntary and informed, with four students not included in this research after choosing not to participate.