By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com September 05 2012 2:19 PM ET
Think of it as Alfred Kinsey 2.0. Indiana University has released the Kinsey Reporter, a global mobile survey platform for collecting and reporting anonymous data about sexual and other intimate behaviors. The pilot project allows people from around the world to use the free app to not only report on their sexual behavior and experiences, but also to share, explore, and visualize the accumulated data.
The Kinsey Reporter app is available from Apple iOS and Google Play online stores. The project, is a joint project between The Kinsey Institute and the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, or CNetS (both part of Indiana University), will collect anonymous data and then aggregate and share it openly, says Julia Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction
"People are natural observers. It's part of being social, and using mobile apps is an excellent way to involve citizen scientists," said Heiman. "We expect to get new insights into sexuality and relationships today. What do people notice, what are they involved in, and what can they relate to us about their lives and their communities?"
CNetS director Filippo Menczer called development of the citizen reporting platform an opportunity to gather information on important issues that may have been difficult to examine in the past.
"This new platform will allow us to explore issues that have been challenging to study until now, such as the prevalence of unreported sexual violence in different parts of the world, or the correlation between various sexual practices like condom use, for example, and the cultural, political, religious or health contexts in particular geographical areas. These were some of our initial motivations for the project," he said.
This is one of the first times that big data crowd sourced from a mobile social media has been mined to find data abut sexual behaviors — and great care has gone into making sure the user remains anonymous.
In addition to the app and Kinsey Reporter website, there's a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, and YouTube videos on "What Is the Kinsey Reporter App" and "Making the Kinsey Reporter App."