How will best you address issues related to participant consent in data collection?

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How will best you address issues related to participant consent in data collection?

data collection

Data Collection

Data collection is the process of collecting and measuring information on established variables in a systematic way, which allows obtaining relevant answers, testing hypotheses and evaluating results. Data collection in the research process is common to all fields of study. While methods vary by discipline, the emphasis is on ensuring accurate and reliable collection.

In the IT field, the goal of all data collection is to capture quality evidence that is then translated into analysis and answers to business questions.

How can we ensure that participants are truly informed when they consent to participate in remote data collection activities?

Obtaining informed consent is just as important in remote data collection as in any other form of data collection. However, given the limitations regarding the length of a telephone call and the difficulties of understanding long and complex texts read over the telephone, a simplified and less detailed informed consent process could be considered.

However, the informed consent process should be considered an iterative and ongoing process. It may not be necessary to obtain consent again at each stage of data collection (and doing so may not be applicable in, for example, a one-off telephone interview). However, to help participants understand, they should be given information throughout the data collection process and ensured that they know that they can withdraw consent at any stage of the process. This point may be particularly important when new information becomes available that could impact the risks or benefits of data collection.

participants are truly informed

Before obtaining consent over the phone, it is necessary to confirm that one is speaking to the correct person. There should be a protocol that indicates how to proceed if the person answering the phone is not the right person. For example, if someone else answers the phone:

Ask the person who answered if they know the person in question and if you can contact this person through this number or if they have the correct number to reach them.

    • If the person answering does not know the person in question, apologize for the inconvenience caused and end the call.

    Informed consent should use a standardized participant information sheet and, at a minimum, should describe the following (adapted from this resource ):

    • Who you are (the data collector) and what organization you work for (reiterate the information, even if you mentioned it at the beginning of the call).

    • Why is this data being collected, that is, what is the overall objective of data collection.

    • Why was that person selected; For example, explain whether the selection was random or whether the person was chosen because they belong to a particular group of interest (e.g., people over 60).

    • That participation is voluntary and that choosing not to participate will have no consequences for the person or their family. Clearly detail what participants have to do to refuse or stop participating (e.g., tell them they can say something like, “I don’t want to continue the conversation”).

      Remind respondents once again before asking for consent that they are free to refuse to participate, and at different stages of data collection, remind them that they are free to withdraw their consent. Also mention that once the respondent’s data has been anonymized and combined, they cannot be excluded.

    • The number of participants about whom data will be collected.

    • What the respondent is expected to do if they decide to participate, including the expected duration of participation.

    • Any reasonably foreseeable risk or inconvenience to the respondent in connection with his or her participation in data collection.

    • Any benefits that the respondent could receive from their participation.

    • How the data collected will be used and who will have access to it.

    • How the confidentiality and privacy of respondents will be guaranteed.

    • Who should the respondent contact if they have questions and give them appropriate contact details.

    • Who should the respondent contact if they have a problem or complaint in relation to data collection and give them relevant contact details.

    These points should be described in simple terms in a language that the participant is fluent in and comfortable with. As mentioned above, it is important to inform the respondent how long the survey or interview will take. This will reduce the incidence of cases where the respondent must end the interview early because he has other priorities in his life or because he is running out of battery.

    Once these issues have been explained, the data collector should ask for verbal consent from the participant and record it explicitly. Verbal consent should be obtained by asking the participant to say “Yes, I agree to participate” in response to the following prompts:

    • I confirm that I have understood the information about the study called “[insert study name here]”. I had the opportunity to evaluate the information, ask questions and obtain satisfactory answers. Do you agree to participate?

    • I understand that my consent is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw such consent, without giving any reason and without consequences for me, until such time as the data is anonymized or combined and cannot be excluded. Do you agree to participate?

    • I understand that all project data may be shared publicly, but that I cannot be identified from this information (if applicable). Do you agree to participate?

    When collecting data over the phone, it is important to remember that other family members are likely to hear what the conversation participant is saying, particularly in cases where physical distancing measures have been imposed and people are encouraged to stay in their home. home. Therefore, we recommend being aware of this issue during remote data collection and avoiding topics that could be related to stigma or that could put the participant at risk if others learn of the information.

    Some examples of topics of this type: mental health, domestic violence, sanitation habits and menstrual hygiene management. If questions about sensitive topics will be asked, we recommend first checking that the person is alone and asking them if it is okay to ask them questions related to the study (yes/no answers). This can avoid causing unintentional harm and can give the person an easy way to refuse to participate if they feel they are at risk. If absolutely necessary, questions of this type can be answered with simple multiple choice answers (eg, a scale of 0 to 10).

    Interviewers should also verify with respondents that they are the only ones who can hear what was said during the phone call and should also provide options to skip questions if they perceive respondents to be uncomfortable.



    If people are refusing to participate, you may want to know why they are refusing, so you can address this issue directly or communicate it and use it to improve future processes. This should be done with great care: the data collector should emphasize that mentioning the reason is optional and is in no way intended to pressure the person to participate.

    If you ask for this information, remember that using a closed-ended (yes/no) question may be easier for the person to answer if it is a sensitive topic and there may be other people listening on the other side. If the person refuses to give a reason, thank them for their time, record the refusal to participate and the reason, reassure the person that there will be no consequences for refusing, and then end the interview.

    Why is data collection so important?

    Collecting customer data is key to almost any marketing strategy. Without data, you are marketing blindly, simply hoping to reach your target audience. Many companies collect data digitally, but don’t know how to leverage what they have.

    Data collection allows you to store and analyze important information about current and potential customers. Collecting this information can also save businesses money by creating a customer database for future marketing and retargeting efforts. A “wide net” is no longer necessary to reach potential consumers within the target audience. We can focus marketing efforts and invest in those with the highest probability of sale.

    Unlike in-person data collection, digital data collection allows for much larger samples and improves data reliability. It costs less and is faster than in-person data, and eliminates any potential bias or human error from the data collected.