Data protection is a topic that is increasingly in the focus of public interest, and it is also of relevance for research in the educational sciences. The challenge here is to answer specific research questions while simultaneously guaranteeing that strict regulations governing data protection are upheld. It is the central function of the working unit Data Protection in Surveys, which is part of LIfBi’s Center for Study Management, to enable data generation under these circumstances. Data protection begins with the earliest preparations for data acquisition, and does not conclude with data input.
The main tasks of this unit are to monitor all surveys from the perspective of data protection law, providing advice on these matters and evaluating aspects such as data acquistion, storage, and transmission in a data protection context. This includes ensuring that data protection regulations comply with all instruments, documents, and procedures relevant to the study, whether within or outside a school environment. Advice regarding data protection in the preparation of studies is especially important in the first case, because the different data protection laws and school regulations on the state level represent a particular challenge in Germany. The unit coordinates the ministerial approval procedures for the studies. Furthermore, responsibility is taken by the subunit — in cooperation with the LIfBi Research Data Center — for maintaining the anonymity of survey data when creating scientific use files. Moreover, the unit offers consulting services to the scientific community regarding the above mentioned topics.