The use of new technologies to measure socio-economic and environmental concepts in longitudinal studies
AuthorsAnnette Jäckle, Alessandra Gaia and Michaela Benzeval
These exciting opportunities also present significant challenges for both data collection and analytical methods. For example, the passive measurement of health and other behaviours enabled by new digital technologies offers the possibility of capturing data less susceptible to the biases usually associated with self report, but creates new sources of bias in terms of who might participate and how well they engage. In addition, the intensive measures of behaviours these technologies can provide (frequent sampling over extended periods, ambulatory measurement in the wild, sensors closely coupled to individuals) bring the promise of far richer phenotyping of studies, but very different kinds of data to those traditionally collected in surveys. Advances like these mean that new technologies will change the nature of the data that can be measured. Incorporating them into longitudinal studies creates additional challenges such as ensuring consistent measures over time despite changing technologies.
Drawing on evidence from across the CLOSER longitudinal studies, this report reviews how new technologies are being used to advance survey measurement of socio-economic concepts and features of the environment. The review focuses on practical considerations, implications for data quality and key methodological research needs