Using Smartphones for Passive and Active Data Collection in Older Populations

February 8, 2023, 9am-12pm

In-Person: Room 1430BD, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Remote: Zoom

  • Meeting ID: 990 7868 9724
  • Passcode: 294637


Florian Keusch

Florian Keusch

University of Mannheim in Germany

Smartphones have become integral parts of many people’s lives. For researchers, the main advantage of smartphones lies in the fact that many users carry them around with them throughout the day. Thus, the devices are often present in the same physical and social contexts as their users. In addition, smartphones include a large set of built-in sensors and support multiple modes of communication greatly facilitating widespread, longitudinal active (e.g., EMA, taking pictures, scanning receipts) and passive (e.g., location tracking, physical activity, call logs, browsing history) data collection in situ. On the flipside, there are multiple challenges to collecting data via smartphones especially among older populations, including selectivity of smartphone ownership and (non)willingness to provide sensor data or perform active data collection tasks.

This workshop will introduce the potentials and challenges when implementing passive and active data collection on smartphones in longitudinal studies of older populations. We will discuss technical aspects of the data collection process and for what types of research questions they can be used. The workshop will also review best practices when implementing smartphone data collection in studies of older populations to reduce errors of measurement and representation.