A bunch of people here in our community are interested in making our collective work more organized, more inviting with explicit activities for people to engage, and more replicable in order to harness our community's size and diversity to produce solid work. @liz introduced the idea of activity grids, and here I want to introduce descriptions of those different categories of activities. You can tag your work with the appropriate category by using the tags listed under each description. I've made a wiki page with longer descriptions for each category -- please feel free to edit and enhance it!!
Here is a run-down of the categories:
Test tool limits
Monitor your environment
“Build” activities are essentially detailed instructions to help you construct a tool and join this project field!
“Verify” activities involve testing the tool you have built to ensure you built it correctly. These activities include basic function tests to verify that the construction was successful, so in future work you can start using your tool for more exploration and experimentation.
“Observations” are activities where you use the tool and notice something of interest. Observation activities included here describe the conditions and process the activity maker used for you to reproduce, but they do not include an explicit experimental design to test a given variable. These activities are meant to help ignite your own exploration and wonder!
4. Test tool function
“Test tool function” activities are tests that are designed to discover the capabilities and limitations of the tool. These are usually performed under “ideal” conditions and include an experimental design sufficient to allow you to deduce tool or technique operational or data quality limits. Please join us in discerning the limits of functionality -- this is an essential step in developing a tool, and the activities need a lot of replication!
5. Field test equipment
“Field test equipment” activities involve testing how real-world conditions impact tool performance, and usually involve getting outside and seeing how well a tool fares out in the environment. Field tests are usually conducted after tool functionality in ideal conditions has been assessed (i.e. after “test tool function” activities), and can range from simple observations to structured field studies. Try getting your hands dirty with these activities!
“Experiment” activities include explicit experimental designs and are typically structured to examine one variable or relationship at a time. Experiments include hypotheses, controlled aspects, and variables, and are the basis for empirical science. Information is learned and confirmed by replication, so please try these activities!
7. Monitor your environment
“Monitor your environment” activities involve getting outside and conducting an environmental assessment. These activities use techniques with known capabilities (“specs”) and include explicit study designs. Sometimes they are specific to one location, and sometimes can be applied more generally, and they usually investigate the nature of occurrence and spatial or temporal variation of something. Explore your area with these activities!