Thank you for participating in the What’s New, Switzerland? research project. We are researchers in the Department of Language and Information Sciences at the University of Lausanne (project leader: Aris Xanthos, aris.xanthos [at] unil.ch). The purpose of our research is to study interpersonal digital communication in Switzerland. The WhatsApp data we are collecting is used for the analysis of messages, in particular for affective statements in text messaging.
The collected data will be accessed by the WNS research team and, on request and under a restrictive license, by members of the scientific community for research purposes. The data you are donating is saved on a server in Switzerland in ecrypted form for security. For the protection of your privacy, we automatically remove or replace family names, first names, numbers (including phone numbers), street addresses, e-mail addresses and URLs in the data you are donating.
After confirming your consent, you will be asked a few questions about your demographic profile (age, gender, language skills, degree of familiarity with digital communication). You will also be asked to provide the email addresses of the other participants in the WhatsApp chat. You will be given the opportunity to indicate any additional sensitive words of your own (for example, rare names, rare diseases, etc.) that are or might be in the chat that might allow someone to identify you. After that, your participation is done! You may, of course, donate more chats if you would like to.
The other participants in the chat will also receive an email with the opportunity to give consent, answer the questions, and submit sensitive words.
The research team will use the data to better understand the dynamics of the communication of emotion in interpersonal digital conversations in Swiss national languages. We will publish their findings (on paper as well as online) in peer-reviewed journals and open access reports. We will present findings at conferences, including a videoconference prepared specially for giving back to the participants of the study (thus you).
Who can take part in this study?
People aged between 16 and 80 years old living in Switzerland can take part in this study. If you are afraid that your participation in the study may have a negative impact on you, please refrain from taking part in the study.
Will there be any benefits in taking part?
We will share our research results with you if you are interested and will tell you about our observations regarding the communication of emotion in interpersonal digital conversations. In addition, you may choose to enter our weekly draw and get a chance to win a gift card.
Will there be any risks in taking part?
We make our best efforts and use the latest technology to both ensure that your data is treated in a confidential way and reduce the residual risk that you can be identified based on the content of your messages. However we cannot entirely suppress any such residual risk.
What happens if I decide that I do not want to take part during the actual study, or decide that I do not want the information I have given to be used?
You are free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason or facing negative consequences. You can request access to your own data or withdraw them by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org (withdrawal requests after the release of the data planned for 2023 will be respected but versions of the corpus shared before your request cannot be modified).
How will you ensure that I cannot be identified based on data that I contribute?
Your email address will only be linked to the data you send in order to be able to retrieve or remove your data, should you request to do so, to contact prize winners (should they wish to enter the draw), and to verify that the conditions for the participation in the data collection campaign have been met. The demographic information asked from you does not enable us to identify you as a person. The data you are donating is saved on a server in Switzerland for security. For the protection of your privacy, we automatically remove or replace family names, first names, numbers (including phone numbers), street addresses, e-mail addresses and URLs in the data you are donating, using named entity recognition algorithms. You can list additional sensitive words of your own (for example, rare names, rare diseases, etc.) and we will remove them from your chat data. The data de-identified in this way will then be coded partly by hand and partly by machine and will be shared as language data (corpus) for other researchers who request access to it, but not to the general public. In a later stage of this research, short excerpts (less than 7 consecutive messages) taken from de-identified chats may be presented to citizen scientists for annotation purposes.
Please contact us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like to receive more information. We appreciate your help with our efforts to better understand the communication of emotion in interpersonal digital conversations in Swiss national languages.
The What’s New, Switzerland? research team at the University of Lausanne, made up of Aris Xanthos, Prakhar Gupta, and Leyla Benkais, commit to the following:
- destroy all raw data as soon as the chats have been been pseudonymized and de-identified
- destroy the chats where not all of the consent has been obtained by the end of the data collection period
- destroy as soon as possible the chats of users requesting us to do so
- only engage with the raw data in order to de-identify it
- not to divulge any personal information from the raw chats in any way to any person.