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ERIC Number: EJ1156079
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1539-1590
A Multi-Case Study of Research Using Mobile Imaging, Sensing and Tracking Technologies to Objectively Measure Behavior: Ethical Issues and Insights to Guide Responsible Research Practice
Nebeker, Camille; Linares-Orozco, Rubi; Crist, Katie
Journal of Research Administration, v46 n1 p118-137 Spr 2015
Introduction: The increased availability of mobile sensing technologies is creating a paradigm shift for health research by creating new opportunities for measuring and monitoring behavior. For example, researchers can now collect objective information about a participant's daily activity using wearable devices that have: 1- Global Positioning System (GPS) to capture location; 2- an outwardly facing camera to document environmental and social context; and, 3- an accelerometer to measure activity levels. While these technologies may offer more accurate means of measuring and understanding behavior, they introduce potential privacy and data security risks for participants as well as for bystanders. The aim of this study was to describe potential risks and risk management strategies in studies using visual imaging and location logging (GPS) data collection methods. Methods: Eight Institutional Review Board (IRB) research protocol applications that included visual imaging and/or GPS data collection methods were identified. Each research protocol application and IRB determination letter was analyzed with the a priori themes of identification of risks (e.g., privacy concerns, data security) and risk management strategies (e.g., disclosure, firewalls) associated with each device. Results: Visual imaging was proposed in four of the eights studies. GPS was included in all eights studies. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology was proposed in all but one study to improve analytics. The findings reveal that: 1) IRBs are grappling with how to consider the rights of bystanders who may be imaged by virtue of being near a research participant; 2) IRBs may not be sufficiently aware of potential risks associated with collection of location data should a data breach occur; and, 3) while research plans incorporated consistent descriptions of each device and associated potential risks, IRB determination letters revealed inconsistent perception of potential study risks. Conclusions: This paper sheds light on ethical issues when using visual imaging and location logging technologies in research. We have exposed concerns and presented management strategies. Questions remain as to whether the risk management strategies are effective and, under what circumstances researchers and IRBs should consider location logging as sensitive data. Empirical research is needed to inform guidelines to enhance the ethical design and conduct of research involving visual imaging and location logging.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A