Workshop 3: 14:10 – 15:40

Mapping ethical priorities for Digital Footprints research

Location: 2D2, Priory Road Complex, University of Bristol, 12 Priory Rd, Bristol BS8 1TU

Organisers: Nina Di Cara (School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol) and Claire Haworth (School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol).

For any questions about the workshop, please contact Nina Di Cara on


In this workshop we will all map out current ethical challenges in digital footprint research, and those who are interested can work with us on a joint output following the conference. All with an interest in the topic are welcome!

As digital footprints research develops across an increasing number of technologies and areas of impact, the variety of ethical challenges associated with the field also grows. This workshop aims to provide a space for community dialogue about ethics where we can work together on ensuring that our path to social impact minimises future harms and prioritises responsible research development. The ethical challenges vary, from larger structural problems that need to be addressed by the field as a whole, to micro problems that could be addressed in the context of individual projects. The workshop will invite attendees to collaborate to map these challenges across the attendee’s varied areas of focus, using the Data Hazards labels ( to scaffold our discussion. The Data Hazards labels are a set of eleven ethical hazards that apply to data-focused research, co-created with the research community to facilitate effective interdisciplinary discussion about data ethics.

Workshop structure

  1. A short overview presentation that will welcome attendees, give them an overview of the workshop aims and briefly introduce the Data Hazard labels which we will be using to theme the discussion. We will then give instructions for the group task. (20 minutes)
  2. Attendees will work in small groups, moving around the room to consider each ethical hazard and contribute challenges that are relevant to their research area. The Data Hazards labels will be used as a basis for this activity, and attendees will also be able to suggest new hazards which are not included in the current set of labels as needed. (30 minutes)
  3. Bringing together all the suggested challenges, the second group activity will involve creating overarching themes, and sorting them into priority areas. We will also be encouraging discussion about what would be needed to address these challenges, and who would need to lead this. For instance, does this challenge require the development of larger infrastructure, or is there research needed into users’ views in this area? Are there solutions some attendees are already aware of? (30 minutes)
  4. Finally, we will close the session, and collect details of those who wish to remain in touch to collaborate on a joint output. (10 minutes)
  5. After the workshop the organisers (Dr Di Cara and Prof Haworth) will lead in the writing of an article on the outputs of this workshop with those who wished to be involved.

The field of digital footprints research is interdisciplinary and has unique ethical challenges that require a dedicated focus. This workshop will benefit from the wide variety of attendees at the Digital Footprints Conference to host a rich discussion on this topic. By taking this opportunity to collaboratively map the current landscape of challenges, we will establish a series of priorities that must be addressed in order for us to develop safe and responsible paths to social impact, and share them more widely with the field as a whole by producing a collective output.