Data Acquisition and Use

The work of the Inclusive Economy Lab is possible because our study participants and agency partners entrust us with important and often sensitive data. Maintaining that trust is central to our approach to data acquisition and use.

How we work to maintain the trust of our study participants and data partners:

  • Upon hire and annually, all staff must complete trainings about our responsibility to protect research participants and their data. The IRB will not approve staff to work on research projects or access data without successfully completing these trainings.

  • Much of the data we use in research is provided by data partners, who collect information over the course of their work. All data partners must review and approve our requests to access their data.
    • Approval is granted for a specific project and is usually based on whether the project offers a clear benefit to the individuals or communities they serve, and whether we can comply with the legal limitations for protection and use of that data. 

  • Some data used in research is collected directly from research participants through surveys, focus groups, or individual interviews. This also requires IRB review and approval. 
    • We seek written informed consent from research participants whenever possible.

In order to protect the identities of individuals in our research studies, the Inclusive Economy Lab ensures that:

  • No personal identifying information (PII) is hardcoded in the written code
  • Analysis code is shared between staff only through data structures on GitLab called repositories.
    • No personally identifiable information (PII) is ever uploaded into these repositories to ensure privacy for subjects. 
  • All data are accessed through a virtual private network (VPN) and a secure remote environment
  • Any data for which there are fewer than ten observations are suppressed for the sake of preserving privacy

Return to the Inclusive Economy Lab homepage