Welcome to Ethica

The goal of Ethica is to help you integrate smartphones, the web, sensors, and big data into your health research. In the following sections, we walk you through how you can set up your study in Ethica, program surveys, add data sources, enroll participants, and check the incoming data.

Each of these steps has tons of details to discuss, but we will skip over those. You can check the Reference Documentation for a more in-depth look at these topics.

We still may use a term here or there that might be unfamiliar. In this case, please check our Terminology to find out what they mean.

Create Your First Study

First, you need to sign up in Ethica. Navigate to https://ethicadata.com/app, and click on Sign up:

Sign up as researcher on Ethica
website

You will be asked to enter some basic information like your name, email address, and your affiliation.

After the sign-up, you will be taken to your Researcher Dashboard. But the New Study button is disabled. You need to validate your email address before you can create your first study. So at the bottom right side of the page, click on Open Settings to go to the Settings:

Validate email address in Ethica Researcher Dashboard -
Settings

In Settings, click on Verify. Ethica will send a verification code to your email. Enter the code in the dialog.

As soon as you enter the correct code, Ethica validates your email address and shows you a message saying Your email is verified..

Now you can navigate back to your dashboard's home page. There you will see the New Study button is enabled. Click on it to create your first study:

Create a new study in Ethica - First
Page

You will be asked a few questions regarding your study. Start by picking a name for the study, for example, My Health Pal. Then enter the name of your organization, for example, Ethica Data.

Then enter the consent materials you want to be presented to the participants before joining the study. Ethica asks participants to consent to these before they can register in your study.

Then you can choose what time you expect participants to start their participation, what time their participation is expected to end, and how many days they are expected to be part of the study. You can read more details on how the combination of these values allows you to configure the participation period of your participants.

In this case, we want our participants to start their participation as soon as they join the study, and continue their participation for 14 days. We don't want to have a specific end date for our enrollment either. So leave the Participation Start Time and Participation End Time blank, and set the Participation Duration to 14 days.

When done, click on Start to create your study:

Review Study Settings before creating your
study

When your study is created you will be taken to your study's Basics page. Here you can modify the values you entered above, add your colleagues to the study, or other basic configurations:

Study Basics
page

Add Data Sources

Your study likely will collect survey responses, cognitive tasks, sensor data, and other components. We discuss these in the following pages. For now, let's add a few data sources to our study.

For this example, we want to collect GPS and pedometer data. So click on the Data Sources on the left panel, and then click on New Data Source:

Add new data source to your
study

In the list, find GPS and click on it. On the next page, specify whether providing this data is mandatory for your participants, or they can opt out as well:

New Data Source
Settings

You can also enter a label and a description to be shown to the participants. If you leave these empty, Ethica shows GPS as the data source name, and the default description.

Follow the same steps to add Pedometer as well. When done, your list of data sources should look like the following:

Final list of data sources for your
study

Enroll Participants

Now you are ready to enroll participants in your new study. You can read about different ways to enroll participants in the Enrollment section. Here we send the study URL to the new participants.

From the left panel, click on Participation, and find the Registration URL. The URL for our study is (yours will be different):

https://ethicadata.com/study/1441/

Below, we pretend to be a participant who uses an Android device. Note that the same steps are true if a participant uses Ethica for iOS or Ethica for Web.

As a participant, I receive the study registration URL, and open it on my phone's browser:

Study home page on Ethica website

If the participant does not have the Ethica app installed, clicking on Participate will take him or her to the Google Play Store app and asks them to install the Ethica app:

Ethica app on Google Play Store

When the participant installs the app and opens it, Ethica asks them to either login or sign up to join in your study:

Ethica app welcome screen during URL registration

After the sign-up and going through the introduction pages, the participant will see the study registration page in the app. This page shows different information about your study, such as name and organization, participation duration, and consent materials.

Ethica app registration page

Clicking on Register will enroll the participant in the study, and starts their participation:

Ethica app registration page

The top banner on the homepage of the app asks the participants to perform some additional steps to complete their enrollment. These steps depend on your study settings. As here we wanted to collect GPS and Pedometer, the steps as participants to grant permissions for GPS and pedometer data collection, and adjusting the phone battery settings to allow Ethica to run in the background.

Grant GPS permission to Ethica app Disable battery optimization for the Ethica app

After completing these additional steps, the participant can close the app. The app continuously runs in the background, collects the data as instructed by the study, and uploads it to your researcher dashboard. You can check back after some time to see the received data.