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Perspect Psychol Sci. 2016 Nov;11(6):838-854.

Using Smartphones to Collect Behavioral Data in Psychological Science: Opportunities, Practical Considerations, and Challenges.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin gabriella.harari@utexas.edu.
2
Nokia Bell Labs, Cambridge, England.
3
Computer Science Department, University College London.
4
Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College.
5
Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, Department of Biomedical Data Science, Dartmouth College.
6
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin.
7
Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne.

Abstract

Smartphones now offer the promise of collecting behavioral data unobtrusively, in situ, as it unfolds in the course of daily life. Data can be collected from the onboard sensors and other phone logs embedded in today's off-the-shelf smartphone devices. These data permit fine-grained, continuous collection of people's social interactions (e.g., speaking rates in conversation, size of social groups, calls, and text messages), daily activities (e.g., physical activity and sleep), and mobility patterns (e.g., frequency and duration of time spent at various locations). In this article, we have drawn on the lessons from the first wave of smartphone-sensing research to highlight areas of opportunity for psychological research, present practical considerations for designing smartphone studies, and discuss the ongoing methodological and ethical challenges associated with research in this domain. It is our hope that these practical guidelines will facilitate the use of smartphones as a behavioral observation tool in psychological science.

KEYWORDS:

behavior; big data; mobile sensing; research design; smartphones

PMID:
27899727
PMCID:
PMC5572675
DOI:
10.1177/1745691616650285
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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