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Data Collection & Creation

This guide provides information about how to gather data from existing collections as well as methods to create your own data based on your research goals.

Sensitive Data

Researchers working with human subjects must take additional steps to adhere to local and federal regulations in order to ensure the privacy of those individuals participating in the research projects. This applies not only to medical and health research, but also applies to research projects that include polls, surveys, and focus groups.

The FIU Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee established under federal regulations for the protection of human subjects in research (45 CFR 46). Its purpose is to help protect the rights and welfare of human participants in research. FIU faculty, staff, and students are required to obtain IRB approval prior to conducting research with human subjects. This applies to both on-campus and off-campus research, regardless of funding.


Anonymizing Data

Anonymizing data is a strategy used by researchers to remove identifying information from research data before making it available. There are two different types of identifiers:

Direct Identifiers

These data point directly to an individual.

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Drivers License
  • Web or IP address
  • Photographs
  • Audio Recordings
  • Dates specific to an individual, like birthday, marriage, etc.

Indirect Identifiers

These may seem harmless on their own, but within the context of other data may point to an individual.

  • Detailed Geographic Information
  • Organization to which the respondent belongs
  • Detailed occupational titles
  • Places where respondent grew up
  • Ethnicity