Data Security Considerations When Using Social Networking Websites for Locating and Contacting Sample Members
Perkins, J. L., Granger, R. K., & Saleska, E. L. (2009, May). Data Security Considerations When Using Social Networking Websites for Locating and Contacting Sample Members. Presented at IFD&TC 2009, .
One of the most challenging aspects of implementing a national longitudinal study is locating the sample members, especially on a study like the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). It is a study of over 20,000 individuals who were first interviewed in 1994-1995. Add Health Wave IV began in 2008 with a cohort ages 24 to 32 years old. This age group in particular was difficult to locate and contact due to frequent moves, the exclusive use of cell phones, telephone screening, and busy work and family schedules. As a result, new locating and contacting methods were attempted, including the use of social networking websites.
Facebook and MySpace are two social networking websites that have roughly 100 million users each and target the 18 to 35 age group. Since the Add Health Wave IV sample members were in this age group, these networking sites offered a potential avenue to reach our more difficult-to-locate respondents. When developing the Add Health web pages for these sites, many data security issues were addressed in order to protect respondents’ privacy.
During this presentation, we will demonstrate the official Add Health Wave IV Facebook and MySpace pages, as well as discuss the various data security considerations when developing a study web page for one of these sites.