Why do I need to anonymise my data?
You may need to anonymise your data as a result of:
- legal (e.g. personal or sensitive data)
- or commercial reasons
This is generally to protect the identities of those involved in your research.
It is considered good practice to anonymise your data early on in your project, for example, alongside gaining informed consent and when imposing any access restrictions.
What about visual or audio data?
It is possible to alter the voices and distort the images of those that may be involved in such research.
However, this can be both a lengthy and expensive process so a better solution maybe to ask participants for consent to keep such data in its original format.
With data that is geo-referenced or relational, it may be better to impose access restrictions when sharing data so that no valuable information is lost i.e. reference points.
Alternatively, you can replace identifiers with other variables which still allow you to understand the data, but protect the identity of a location.