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ODISSEI Lecture: Digital trace data collection through data donation

april 23 @ 12:00 - 13:00

On the 23rd of April 2024 from 12.00 to 13.00 hours, the next ODISSEI Lecture will take place. Laura Boeschoten, assistant professor at Utrecht University, will talk about digital trace data collection through data donation. Follow this link for the registration. 


Recently, a new workflow has been introduced that allows academic researchers to partner with individuals interested in donating their digital trace data for academic research purposes. In this workflow, the digital traces of participants are processed locally on their own devices in such a way that only the subset of participants’ digital trace data that is of legitimate interest to a research project is shared with the researcher, which can only occur after the participant has provided their informed consent.

This data donation workflow consists of the following steps: First, the participant requests a digital copy of their data at the platform of interest, such as Google, Meta, Twitter and other digital platforms, i.e., their Data Download Package (DDP). Platforms, as data controllers, are required as per the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to share a digital copy with each participant requesting such a copy. Second, they download the DDP onto their device. Third, by means of local processing, only the data points of interest to the researcher are extracted from that DDP. Fourth, the participant inspects the extracted data points after which the participant can consent to donate. Only after providing this consent, the donated data is sent to a storage location and can be accessed by the researcher, which would mean that the storage location can be accessed for further analysis

This presentation will delve deeper into the data donation workflow, followed by a demonstration of the software used to prepare a data donation study. Additionally, Laura Boeschoten will provide examples of research projects where data donation has been used. Methodological challenges that researchers encounter while using data donation will be covered in the second half of the presentation. Finally, future prospects and plans for data donation are outlined.

About the speaker

Laura Boeschoten is an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, Department of Methodology & Statistics. She currently works on building a Digital Data Donation platform which researchers can use to conduct data donation studies. Her research focuses on the various methodological challenges that researchers face when performing data donation studies and on designing intuitive and simple data donation workflows for both researchers and participants.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash


april 23
12:00 - 13:00





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