Using Smartphone Technology for Research Among Refugees in Germany
We first conducted personal interviews with refugees in Germany. As part of the interview we collected consent to contact participants again via email or WhatsApp message for further data collection on their smartphones. Participants were then invited to participate in four follow-up web surveys over the course of three months about different aspects of their integration into Germany, labor market participation, personality traits, and political positions. In addition, participants were invited to download a research app to their smartphones for passive mobile data collection to infer measures of refugees’ mobility, social interaction, and labor market participation over time. We also conducted an experiment on the effect of incentives on participation rates.
Overall, we found that refugees are very skeptical towards passive data collection; we had low participation rates in the app experiment: 7% compared to 30% and 13% for the first two surveys, respectively. Additionally, the incentives provided a slight but insignificant positive effect on participation.