Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Lablinn Survey

Hi all! As you may know, myself and some college pals are working on starting up a community lab in Ireland so everyday people can do real science. We're calling it Lablinn. 
Temporary logo from logomaker.com

A few months ago, we were advised by Trinity Launchpad to do a market research survey and we did, so here I am with those results. 

When designing the survey, we really wanted to find out whether there was interest in science among people outside research careers, and whether they'd like to channel that interest into participation in a community lab, and if so, what that community lab should look and function like.

We got 103 responses in total; here's a summary. 

First, we asked how people interacted with science, and if they didn't, why. 

Of the 17 people who said they rarely interacted with science, 82.4% said it was because it was "intimidating/inaccessible".

When we asked about previous involvement with science, 31 people said they'd been involved in BTYSTE, 23 in CoderDojo, 5 in the Walton Club, 26 in Scifest, 21 in a university STEM outreach program, and 36 in none of the above.

Would you use a community lab?

Then we asked if people would like to get practically involved in science, and 92.2% said yes. 84.5% of survey respondents said that if community labs and training in how to do experiments were available, they would use them. 

We asked what areas people were interested in (ecology, environment, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology), and found that psychology was most popular (58 people), followed by Biology (53) and Physics (49). We asked what facilities they'd like, to know what level we should pitch the lab at. We asked when they'd use a lab like this, and Saturday got 70% of the vote. A plurality (42.4%) said they'd use the lab once a week, and most people wanted an even mix of curriculum and guided research. People wanted a wide range of topics covered in a curriculum. They said they'd pay €8 per use, on average (with values ranging from 0 to €80 and €400, which may well be a typo). 

Finally, we got some demographics. 

Our audience skewed young, likely due to the survey's having been spread on our social media -- almost half of participants were between 18 and 24, and another 42% were 13-17. 62% were female. 33% were in college while 51% were in secondary school. Of those who had gone to college, 31% did not study STEM subjects. 


  • We were happy with the high "Yes" rates for getting involved in science and using community labs. However, we recognise that people likely self-selected into a survey described as being related to citizen science. 
  • Our audience is younger, on average, than the people I thought of this for originally (adults who never got the chance to do science). I'd love to have people from 12 up involved, so it remains to be seen how more adult involvement would change the results. 
  • We were surprised that there was such a low proportion of Dubliners in the sample - 33% were from somewhere in the Republic of Ireland that wasn't Dublin, Cork or Galway. We do intend to set up in Dublin because that's where we're based, but after that we hope to expand.
In other Lablinn news, we have a website under development now, which I will link when it's ready, and are working on a business plan to show college. 

Hope you enjoyed that, and if you responded to the survey, thank you! At the moment we're looking to get in touch with somewhere where we can set up, so if you can help us swing that, let me know at loughrae@tcd.ie. If you have any information or advice about insurance/curriculum/something else we should watch out for, or are interested in being an adviser in general, let us know too!

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