Mannheim Research Colloquium on Survey Methods (MaRCS): Digital trace data collection using data donation in surveys

20.04.2023 - 13:00 to 14:00
Location : 
A 5,6 room A 231/230 + Zoom
Type of Event : 
Bella Struminskaya


Bella Struminskaya (Utrecht University) will give a presentation (in person) on 

Digital trace data collection using data donation in surveys



Recent technological advances and technologies’ integration into people’s lives result in the continuous collection of data by organizations. The current European legislature (GDPR) allows individuals to request information about themselves from the gathering organizations and share it with researchers. Such rich data provides ample opportunities to study human behavior. For example, donation of geolocation history allows to study human mobility at unprecedently granular levels; donation social media data allows insights into individuals’ social networks; donation of fitness-tracking data allows insights into physical activity. The donated data is less susceptible to social desirability and recall biases than self-report and when combined with in-the-moment questionnaires allows addressing research questions about behavior and attitudes. However, critical conceptual challenges remain. Data sharing might be burdensome for participants’ (e.g., due to privacy concerns) potentially introducing selection bias. If those who donate data differ from those who do not in critical study outcomes, the research conclusions can be biased. We implemented a randomized experiment (2x2x2 design) in a Dutch online panel (CentERpanel) to study the mechanisms of willingness and consent to donate Google location history data. Smartphone owners were randomly assigned to the following conditions: (1) showing a visualization of data similar to what participants are asked to donate at the stage requesting the donation to increase understanding of the donation vs. no visualization, (2) varying the incentive amount for donating the data announced at the request stage, (3) checking the understanding of the donation request vs. no questions about the understanding of what is asked from the panelists. In this talk, I will focus on the willingness to donate and actual upload of the data extracted from Google location history data donation package as outcomes. In addition to the results of the experimental conditions, we study selection biases by comparing the characteristics of those who donate and those who do not, focusing on demographics, technological skills, and travel behavior.


Please use this link to attend the colloquium via Zoom:


MaRCS is a seminar series jointly organized by the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), the University of Mannheim School of Social Sciences, and GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences.


Upcoming seminars:

May 30, 2023              Esther Ulitzsch (University of Mannheim)


You can sign-up to the MaRCS mailing list here to receive invitations to the upcoming seminars.


Florian Keusch (University of Mannheim, School of Social Sciences)

Henning Silber (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

Bernd Weiß (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

Alexander Wenz (University of Mannheim, MZES)


Other Weblinks: