Quotation Müller, Jörg, Fàbregues, Sergi, Günther, Elisabeth Anna, Romano, María José. 2019. Using Sensors in Organizational Research—Clarifying Rationales and Validation Challenges for Mixed Methods. Frontiers in Psychology. 10




Sensor-based data are becoming increasingly widespread in social, behavioral, and organizational sciences. Far from providing a neutral window on “reality,” sensor-based big-data are highly complex, constructed data sources. Nevertheless, a more systematic approach to the validation of sensors as a method of data collection is lacking, as their use and conceptualization have been spread out across different strands of social-, behavioral-, and computer science literature. Further debunking the myth of raw data, the present article argues that, in order to validate sensor-based data, researchers need to take into account the mutual interdependence between types of sensors available on the market, the conceptual (construct) choices made in the research process, and the contextual cues. Sensor-based data in research are usually combined with additional quantitative and qualitative data sources. However, the incompatibility between the highly granular nature of sensor data and the static, a-temporal character of traditional quantitative and qualitative data has not been sufficiently emphasized as a key limiting factor of sensor-based research. It is likely that the failure to consider the basic quality criteria of social science measurement indicators more explicitly may lead to the production of insignificant results, despite the availability of high volume and high-resolution data. The paper concludes with recommendations for designing and conducting mixed methods studies using sensors.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation External
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Using Sensors in Organizational Research—Clarifying Rationales and Validation Challenges for Mixed Methods
Volume 10
Year 2019
URL https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01188/full
DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01188
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01188/full


Günther, Elisabeth Anna (Former researcher)
Fàbregues, Sergi (IN3 – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Castelldefels, Spain)
Müller, Jörg (IN3 – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Castelldefels, Spain)
Romano, María José (IN3 – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Castelldefels, Spain)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5324 Organizational research (Details)
5413 Sociological methods (Details)
5509 Psychological methodology (Details)
5517 Organisational psychology (Details)
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