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Quality Assurance Handbook and Guidance Documents for Citizen Science Projects

This Handbook for Citizen Science Quality Assurance and Documentation is for organizations that are starting or growing a citizen science project, and where transparency in the scientific methods for collecting the data are central to the outcome of the project. The Handbook has two companion documents, Examples and Templates. We have provided a Word version of the templates to allow you to customize them. 

The Handbook explains the purpose of each of the templates. The Templates provide instructions, tables and questions, and the Examples provide specific examples of quality assurance documentation. Together, these documents will help your organization complete a Quality Assurance Project Plan and provide information for data users to evaluate the quality of data collected by citizen scientists.

If you have questions about EPA's Quality Assurance guidance, please email EPA's Vincia Holloman or call her at 202-564-5176.  You may also want to contact federal, state, local, tribal, or other organizations for more assistance or guidance.

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  • Handbook for Citizen Science Quality Assurance and Documentation (PDF)(32 pp, 511 K, March 2019)
    This Handbook conveys common expectations for quality assurance and documentation; and best management practices to level the playing field for organizations that train and use volunteers in the collection of environmental data. It is useful for three broad categories of citizen science projects: increasing public understanding; scientific studies and research; and legal and policy action.
  • Examples for Citizen Science Quality Assurance and Documentation (PDF)(44 pp, 830 K, March 2019)
    These Examples provide tools and procedures to help citizen science organizations properly document the quality of data. Use them with the Handbook and the Templates document.
  • Templates for Citizen Science Quality Assurance and Documentation (PDF)(31 pp, 490 K, March 2019)
    These Templates provide tools and procedures to help citizen science organizations properly document the quality of data. Use these with the Handbook and the Examples document. An editable Word version of the templates is also available.

Editable Templates