Show don’t tell: Engaging the public in language science through a participatory experiment

Sudha Arunachalam, Nick Bednar, Lindsay Burns, María Cobo Nieto, Laura Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes a novel program of language science engagement, called CogSciDIY: Language Science. This program combines features from citizen science and participatory-action research in an innovative way to promote science understanding. Language science is rarely cov-ered in these domains, so the program provides a unique opportunity for nonlinguists to learn more about the field. Using an interactive online platform, members of the general public assisted a research team in identifying a research question, designing an experiment to test that question, and interpreting the results of the experiment. The program provided guided support for the partic-ipants to learn about both language science content and the scientific method more generally. User outcomes in the form of participation analytics and an internal evaluation survey suggest that this program has promise for helping the general public to better understand the scientific dimensions of language study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • citizen science
  • linguistics education
  • linguistics engagement
  • public engagement
  • public understanding
  • science education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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