Current research – Living With Data: knowledge, experiences and perceptions of data practices

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Current research – Living With Data: knowledge, experiences and perceptions of data practices is a research project funded by The Nuffield Foundation, which runs from September 2019 to December 2021. 

The ubiquitous collection and use of digital data is changing people’s lives, positively and negatively. Concern about the harms that might result from new uses of data has led to measures to influence their governance, eg the government Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) and the independent Ada Lovelace Institute (Ada). Understanding public views and how data affect people are at the heart of these initiatives, but to date, knowledge about such matters is limited. To ensure that data works ‘for people and society’ (Ada’s mission) and is ‘a force for good’ (a CDEI aim we need to understand people’s knowledge, experiences and perceptions of data practices, in particular what they think constitute ‘fair’ practices, which results from methodologically rigorous inquiry. Living With Data will develop this understanding, through mixed methods research combining a survey, focus groups, interviews and a novel ‘data journeys’ approach. It will take everyday, public sector data practices which relate to healthcare, accessing public services and media use as examples and as a starting point for the research. It will share findings with relevant stakeholders, to inform their understanding of public perceptions and, ultimately, their data policies and practices.

The Living With Data team is: Helen Kennedy, Jo Bates, Hannah Ditchfield, Susan Oman, Mark Taylor, Itzelle Medina-Perea and Lulu Pinney, all at The University of Sheffield. Visit the People page to find out more about us.