Challenges and Opportunities for Harmonizing Research Methodology: Raw Accelerometry

V. T. van Hees, K. Thaler-Kall, K. H. Wolf, J. C. Brond, A. Bonomi, M. Schulze, M. Vigl, B. Morseth, L. A. Hopstock, L. Gorzelniak, H. Schulz, S. Brage, A. Horsch

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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, Hi) 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. Conclusions: 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMethods of Information in Medicine
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)525-532
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

ISI Document Delivery No.: EE5CO Times Cited: 0 Cited Reference Count: 53 van Hees, Vincent T. Thaler-Kall, Kathrin Wolf, Klaus-Hendrik Brond, Jan C. Bonomi, Alberto Schulze, Mareike Vigl, Matthaeus Morseth, Bente Hopstock, Laila Arnesdatter Gorzelniak, Lukas Schulz, Holger Brage, Soren Horsch, Alexander Morseth, Bente/C-1175-2010 German Research Foundation (DFG) This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG). 0 2 Schattauer gmbh-verlag medizin naturwissenschaften Stuttgart


  • Standardization accelerometer physical activity raw data estimating energy-expenditure assessed physical-activity activity monitors birth cohorts rosetta stone wrist classification walking comparability acceleration Computer Science Health Care Sciences & Services Medical Informatics
  • Physical activity
  • Standardization
  • Accelerometer
  • Raw data


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