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Exploring Barriers to the Adoption of Mobile Technologies for Volunteer Data Collection Campaigns


Volunteer campaigns for data collection make it possible for non-profit organizations to extend their ability to monitor and respond to critical environmental and societal issues. Yet mobile data collection technologies that have the potential to lower the costs and increase the accuracy of volunteer-collected data are not commonly used in these campaigns. In this paper we conduct a series of studies that reveal the complex issues affecting technology adoption in this domain. First, we surveyed and interviewed existing volunteering campaigns to map out current technology usage within volunteer campaigns. Next, we provided two organizations with a customizable tool for data collection (Sensr) and studied its use and non-use across six real volunteer-driven campaigns over six months. Our study explored success and failure across the first few phases of the campaign lifecycle (campaign creation, initial deployment, and adoption). Our results highlight the impact of resource constraints, cognitive factors, the depth of volunteer engagement, and stakeholders' perspective on technology as important factors contributing to the adoption and usage of mobile data collection technologies. We use these findings to argue for specific design features to accelerate the adoption and use of such tools in volunteer data collection campaigns.

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