Abstract: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed in 2018, outlined new data privacy standards applying to residents of the European Union (EU). The impact of this law stretches beyond the EU to anyone – such as researchers across the world – collecting or processing data from EU residents. Researchers have had to augment their methodologies to ensure GDPR compliance. This initiative intersects with at-scale educational programs, which often enroll EU students and are also often the subject of institutional research. While creating a study to research students in an online Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) program, some of whom are in the EU, we encountered difficulties with ensuring GDPR compliance. This paper discusses the implications of the GDPR related to both general research and our specific study. We discuss the challenges of interpreting the GDPR and integrating it into our methodology as well as potential solutions, our ultimate resolution, and practical recommendations, and we consider what the future of data privacy legislation means for researchers.
The full paper “With or Without EU: Navigating GDPR Constraints in Human Subjects Research in an Education Environment” can be found here.