Challenges and Opportunities for Harmonizing Research Methodology: Raw Accelerometry.
Methods of information in medicine 2015 ; 55: 525-532.
DOI : 10.3414/ME15-05-0013
PubMed ID : 27714396
PMCID : 0
Raw accelerometry is increasingly being used in physical activity research, but diversity in sensor design, attachment and signal processing challenges the comparability of research results. Therefore, efforts are needed to harmonize the methodology. In this article we reflect on how increased methodological harmonization may be achieved.
The authors of this work convened for a two-day workshop (March 2014) themed on methodological harmonization of raw accelerometry. The discussions at the workshop were used as a basis for this review.
Key stakeholders were identified as manufacturers, method developers, method users (application), publishers, and funders. To facilitate methodological harmonization in raw accelerometry the following action points were proposed: i) Manufacturers are encouraged to provide a detailed specification of their sensors, ii) Each fundamental step of algorithms for processing raw accelerometer data should be documented, and ideally also motivated, to facilitate interpretation and discussion, iii) Algorithm developers and method users should be open about uncertainties in the description of data and the uncertainty of the inference itself, iv) All new algorithms which are pitched as "ready for implementation" should be shared with the community to facilitate replication and ongoing evaluation by independent groups, and v) A dynamic interaction between method stakeholders should be encouraged to facilitate a well-informed harmonization process.
The workshop led to the identification of a number of opportunities for harmonizing methodological practice. The discussion as well as the practical checklists proposed in this review should provide guidance for stakeholders on how to contribute to increased harmonization.