Enhance your survey with digital trace data

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In recent years, personal scientific data collection has fallen into crisis all over the world. Empirical social research is confronted day by day with the fact that this method is becoming increasingly difficult and costly to implement. As a result, data collection that does not take place face to face is becoming more and more prominent. Also, research using “digital footprints” of human behaviour can replace or complement certain surveys. This data can come from a variety of sources: Website visits, social media activity, smartphone app use, and data on movement and other physical conditions from various sensors on devices. This type of data collection is not intrusive as it does not require constant user interaction, but it provides a high level of accuracy and detail about people’s digital lifestyles.

Within the framework of the National Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence (MILAB), the development of the Octopus Research Tools started in autumn 2021 at the Social Science Research Centre with the participation of social scientists and computer scientists. The aim of the Octopus project is to combine these two research methodologies, i.e. sensor and device usage log-based digital behaviour data collection and surveys capable of displaying multimedia content (audio, images, video), in a complex smartphone-based software ecosystem. The aim is to create an internationally innovative research tool for the scientific communities worldwide for the investigation of a wide range of societal issues and problems, for modelling and predicting human behaviour.


Octopus Research Tools is not only a software development but a series of methodological research focusing of users' potential privacy concerns, willingness to participate in data sensor- and log-based data collection.

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