Digitally Invisible – Consent

We will work with Phoenix Heat Relief Network cooling centers and the City of Phoenix Human Services Department Homeless Programs to connect with their clients who self-identify as homeless. Individuals who express an interest in participating in this research will meet with a research team member and their support worker to confirm their interest in participating and to begin the study. At that meeting, this form will be explained to the participant and they will be asked to confirm that they are agreeing to participate. Two copies of the form will be signed by the research team member, and witnessed by the cooling center / homeless support services worker, and one copy will be given to the participant.

How Digital Data Ignores the Homeless – Research Study


Researchers in the School of Public Affairs and Center for Policy Informatics at Arizona State University are studying how some members of society are not being represented in datasets as we become increasingly reliant on digital services like smart phones, credit card transactions and Internet-connected devices. Our hypothesis is that homeless individuals are especially likely to not be represented in these digital datasets. When government policy is made based on digital data, that failure means that those policies will not reflect the day-to-day reality of being homeless. Our study is an initial attempt to test this hypothesis, and to open a discussion about how the problems of the homeless can be better reflected in digital data with the long-term goal of improving homeless services and the wellbeing of the homeless.

This research team is seeking ten volunteer participants to join us in this initial study to capture anonymous digital data that reflects part of the day-to-day reality what it means to be homeless in Phoenix.


You must be 18 or older to participate in this study.

If you choose to volunteer to be a part of this research, there are three things we ask you to do:

  1. Participate in a 10 minute interview about your experience living without housing and any use of digital technology (like cell phones and credit cards).
  2. Carry an iButton for one week. This small device (shown below) records the air temperature and time every 5 minutes. It does not record the location or any other measure – it cannot hear or see anything, and it is not connected to the Internet. The temperature data will be uploaded from the device when connected to a computer at the end of the week. The ID number of this device has been recorded at the top of this form – but your identity is protected.
  3. Meet with us again at the end of one week, along with your cooling center or homeless services support worker, for a 10 minute post-test interview. We’ll talk about your experience carrying the iButton over the previous week and receive the iButton back from you.


Instructions for carrying an iButton:

  • It can be clipped to a belt loop or backpack – anywhere where it remains close to you, and is exposed to the air.
  • The device is durable but not indesctructible. Treat it the same way you would a watch.
  • iButtons cost about $25, but do not have any value without an additional device required for reading the data captured.
  • If we have not already arranged to meet with you at the end of the week, either contact the cooling center / homeless services support worker or call the research team (602-496-0457) to arrange a meeting.


There are no anticipated risks associated with your involvement in this study.

Anonymity and Confidentiality

All interview responses will be confidential. All data captured by the iButton will be confidential. All data obtained from participants will be kept confidential and will only be reported in aggregate. All individual questionnaires will be concealed, and no one other than the principal investigator and co-investigators listed below will have access to them. We will have a master list, but names will be replaced with a study ID code.


There is no direct benefit to you from participating.


To thank you for participating in this research and to compensate you for your time and effort, we will give you a $25 Visa Gift Card upon the return of the iButton. These cards will be registered and the name of recipient recorded though no data concerning their use will be track by the research team. Arizona State University also requires that we ask whether you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or non-resident alien. You will also be asked to sign a form acknowledging receipt of the card.


Participation in this research study is completely voluntary. You have the right to withdraw at any time after you have started the survey, or decline to participate entirely without penalty. If you wish to withdraw after starting the study, we ask that you return the iButton to us by either contacting the cooling center / homeless services support worker or calling the research team (602-496-0457).

Questions about the Research

If you have any questions concerning the research study, please contact the investigators:

  • Justin Longo <> or by phone at 602-496-0457
  • David Hondula <>
  • Erik Johnston <>

Questions about your Rights as a Research Participant

This research is being conducted under the purview of the Arizona State University Institutional Review Board, Protocol STUDY00002516. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this research, you can contact the Chair of the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board, through the ASU Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, at 480-965-6788.


The signatures below certify that the above description of this research study was explained to you on __________________________ (date) at

________________________________ (location) and that you affirmed your willingness to participate in this research.


Signature of participant

Name of participant

Signature of research team member

Name of research team member

Signature of cooling center / homeless support services workerName of cooling center / homeless support services worker

One comment on “Digitally Invisible – Consent

  1. Pingback: Challenges in Revealing the Bright Shadows of the Digitally Invisible | Justin Longo, phd

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