Data Sources

Collecting data from participants can either be done unobtrusively without any user interaction, such as continuously recording GPS data or Bluetooth beacon connectivity, or it can involve participant interaction such as responding to surveys. In this section, we discuss automated data sources, collected from build-in sensors in smart-devices or other digitally generated data such as statistics on app usage. We discuss the surveys in the Surveys section, as the only data source which includes participant interaction.

While all data sources are available for Android, some are not supported by iOS due to technical restrictions. Supported platforms for each data source are mentioned below, next to the data source description.

Accessing Data Sources

In order to access the list of data sources currently monitored as part of your study, go to the Researcher Dashboard and navigate to Design -> Data Sources page:

Accessing List of Data Sources for a Given Ethica Study

Here you can add or remove data sources from your study as the study requirements changes. To add a new data source, click on the Add a New Data Source button.

This will open the Add a New Data Source dialog, which shows all available data sources that is not yet added to your study. Selecting any data source from the list shows a short description of the data source as well. You also can select whether a given data source should be mandatory or optional, as previously described.

Add a New Data Source Dialog

Pressing Add will add the selected data source to the study. Any participants joining in future will provide data from this data source as well. Keep in mind if there are currently enrolled participants in the study, you need to update their device.

To remove a data source, simply click on the trash icon next to each data source. This will ask for a confirmation prior to removing the data source from the study.

Note that removing a data source from a study does not delete the data collected so far from that source. It only stops collecting new data from the source. You need to manually remove the collected data if necessary.

Currently, there is no option to edit a given data source (e.g. changing it to mandatory or optional). If you need to modify a given data source, simply remove it, and add it again with the modified settings.

Common Data Fields

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, each record of data collected from a given data source includes the following data fields:

User ID:
The unique ID of the participant provided the data. Internally stored as user_id.

Device ID:
The unique ID of the smart-device provided the data. Internally stored as device_id.

Record Time:
The time this record was captured. Internally stored as record_time.

Relative Record Time:
The time this record was captured, relative to the participation period's start time, in milliseconds. For example, 3,600,000 indicates the record was captured 1 hour after the participant joined the study. Internally stored as rel_record_time.

A universally-unique identifier (UUID) used to differentiate a given record. Internally stored as timestamp. Note that unlike it's name, this field does not include the time a given record was collected (that's stored as Record Time). This field is used to uniquely identify different records, even if they are recorded exactly at the same time.