ERIC Number: ED037787
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Feb
Reference Count: 0
A "Link" System for Assuring Confidentiality of Research Data in Longitudinal Studies. ACE Research Reports, Vol. 5, No. 3.
Astin, Alexander W.; Boruch, Robert F.
The purpose of this article is to describe a system for protecting the anonymity of subjects in longitudinal research and for maintaining the security of data files. The basic system comes from the American Council on Education Cooperative Institutional Research Program. Data is collected from questionnaires, and converted to magnetic tape. Original data is destroyed. Two separate tape files are then set up. The first file contains answers of the person, together with an arbitrary identification number. The second file has the person's name and address and the same arbitrary number. The former file is accessible to members of the research staff, the latter is locked in a vault. The "Link" system elaborates on the above scheme by removing identification numbers from the name and address file and substituting another unrelated number. A third file was then created, which contained only the two numbers. This file then links the subjects identity with his answers to questions. The link file is then deposited at a computer facility located in a foreign country. This file is released to no one. Follow-up data is then collected again from the same students, with the person's number used for identification. This information is then sent to the foreign center, where the second number is replaced by the first. The data is then merged with previous data for longitudinal research. (KJ)
Descriptors: Computer Storage Devices, Confidential Records, Data Processing, Databases, Filing, Information Storage, Information Systems, Research Methodology, Security, Tape Recordings
American Council on Education, Office of Research, One DuPont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Council on Education, Washington, DC. Office of Research.