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.
First, you need to sign up in Ethica. Navigate to https://ethicadata.com/app,
and click on
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
Open Settings to go to the 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:
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,
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:
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:
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:
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
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
Follow the same steps to add
Pedometer as well. When done, your list of data
sources should look like the following:
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
The URL for our study is (yours will be different):
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:
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:
When the participant installs the app and opens it, Ethica asks them to either login or sign up to join in your study:
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.
Register will enroll the participant in the study, and starts
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.
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.