Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM


WISE, Julia Linnaea, Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, 500 Geology/Physics Building, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013, DIEFENDORF, Aaron F., Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, PO Box 210013, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013 and VAUGHN, L., College of Medicine, Cincininati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45221,

Participatory Needs Assessments, such as Group Level Assessments (GLAs), are reproducible methods used to identify a local population’s needs. This evaluation methodology was initially developed and applied by public health practitioners. Successfully completed Participatory Needs Assessments provide the basis for the formation of partnerships between academics, institutions, and the local community. These partnerships can then address the previously identified needs by setting community priorities and subsequently developing and enacting an action plan. This study addresses the use of the GLA methodology to identify geo- and environmental science needs and concerns within a community.

In collaboration with individuals between the ages of 16 and 70 in the greater Cincinnati area we conducted a GLA to facilitate the identification and ranking of geoscience questions and problems in this ethnically and socioeconomically diverse community. The identified geoscience questions and problems were then compared to those identified in the academic literature and by elected officials.

Albeit an untraditional geoscience methodology, applying a GLA to the geosciences is the first step to providing the opportunity for community members to participate fully in each phase of the scientific process: from conception to communication of results. Furthermore, in lieu of the more traditional citizen science approach of requesting the public’s aid in analysis; a GLA places community members as the key stakeholders in the scientific process thereby increasing public interest in the geosciences. The GLA may identify previously unrecognized geoscience and environmental science concerns and serve as an avenue for the implementation of citizen science in the geosciences and improved communication between the university and greater community.