Journal article Open Access

Data security in human subjects research: new tools for qualitative and mixed-methods scholars

Milliff, Aidan

Political science research in both qualitative and quantitative traditions frequently uses data that contain personal information about research participants. Personal information can enter the research process in different ways; sometimes researchers collect it directly via a survey or an interview, other times they gather it from an aggregator like a government agency or private company or semi-public sources like social media. In many cases, the personal data that political scientists collect is both personally-identifiable3 and sensitive, meaning that disclosure could expose respondents to severe repercussions like legal sanction (McMurtrie 2014) or retribution from non-state actors (Venkatesh 2008), as well as more diffuse harms like the negative impacts on personal life, employment opportunities, or reputation (Ohm 2010).

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