Friday, 11.30-12.30

Consent and ethics in the Information Age. Zoe Dibb, Girl Effect
TEGA is a digital qualitative research methodology developed by Girl Effect. In this session we will discuss how our team of ‘paranoid optimists’ developed solutions to overcome safety and ethical challenges when collecting digital data from hard to reach groups. We will practically demonstrate a number of safety and security features including as SMS-operated Help Button and a new Digital Recruitment app that showcases our ‘engaged consent’ process.

Session Level:

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Session Details:

Last year, we presented in a MERL Tech lightning talk. At the time we were grappling with a number of ethical issues related to collecting digital data from respondents across the Global South. As a result of discussions and suggestions made during the conference, we’ve now overhauled our consent process and are back to tell you how we did it!

The session will explore a number of safety, security and ethical issues related to collecting and using digital data, often from respondents with low literacy levels. We will bring TEGA phones along to practically demonstrate and discuss:

– The various security features that have been incorporated into TEGA including an SMS-operated help button, Snapchat features which immediately hide respondent interviews and community leader videos designed to ensure TEGAs can evidence their permission to conduct interviews if approached by suspicious gatekeepers;
– How we have developed a new digital recruitment and consent process, which puts respondent respect at its heart and eliminates the unreliable paper trail that normally forms part of research consent
– Ways we have utilized ‘engaged consent’ to ensure respondents with low literacy levels can demonstrate they understand what they are consenting to when recruited for research;
– The different types of consent gained for research and ‘media’ interviews, which may result in videos of respondents being shared widely;
– Girl Effect’s wider privacy policy and concrete measures that can be put in place by other organisations conducting research across the Global South

Session Leads:

Zoe Dibb, Senior Manager, Evidence (TEGA), Girl Effect. Before joining Girl Effect, Zoe worked for a number of NGOs including Save the Children, Theatre for a Change in Malawi and Health Poverty Action. She has specific experience of using SMS and data-based real time monitoring systems including using Frontline SMS, ODK, Mobenzi and Telerivet, all of which have contributed to her interest in working with TEGA, a mobile girl-operated research approach. Since early 2016, Zoe has been working with the TEGA team to strengthen TEGA’s application as a research methodology. This has included making improvements to the way research is designed, training girl researchers and streamlining the analysis process for video and audio content collected with the TEGA app. More on Zoe here and at Girl Effect.

Supplementary Materials:

For more information on TEGA more generally please visit:

Girl Effect website

TEGA & MIT Lean research case study