Nigel Gilbert, Klaus Moessner, Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir, Jie Jiang, Riccardo Pozza
HomeSense will develop and demonstrate how digital sensors can be used to advantage in social research. The project is a collaboration between the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) and the 5G Innovation Centre. Drawing on recent developments in the use of fixed and mobile sensors to measure location, movement, noise levels, air quality, temperature, energy use and a range of physical states, the project team will trial the use of such sensors in a sample of UK households.
Households come in all sorts of configurations and they vary in their ways of organising the use of rooms, household devices and energy sources, as well as in the extent of communications amongst household members and the purposes for which members spend their time at home. Observations of households to-date have relied on self-reporting and on-site observations. With HomeSense we will demonstrate how to collect data from fixed and mobile sensors, and how to manage, technologically and responsibly, the intensive measuring of state, location, activity and interaction. We will show how this method affects respondent burden, consent, privacy and data security, and how the data can be converted into meaningful descriptions of socially relevant activities in conjunction with time-use diaries, questionnaires and walking interviews/observations.
We will document the technical and ethical considerations arising from using sensors, test their value for social research, and develop a suite of tools and resources for training and capacity-building activities through the UK National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM).
Funding: ESRC
Duration: Jan 2016 to Dec 2018