This section of the site deals with various tools and strategies for data collection during field research. This is particularly important in contrast to collecting data on paper. Data collected on paper is expensive and time-consuming as it generally needs to be transcribed into a computer for analysis which means double data entry as well as errors introduced during the transcription process. Data on paper is also very vulnerable to loss and damage. There are many compelling stories of researchers who had all their data in paper form which, once lost, was irrecoverable. Data collected using mobile devices is generally stored on safe and secure servers where it can be backed up.
App creation covers tools that enable researchers to create data collection instruments without any programming or development expertise.
OpenROSA is a consortium which creates open source, standards-based tools for mobile data collection, aggregation, analysis, and reporting. Of particular note is the Open Data Kit which forms the basis of many other tools and platforms.
App development deals with frameworks and platforms that facilitate development of apps for researchers who are comfortable working with code and scripting languages.
Survey software refers to web-based software designed for administering surveys. While this may or may not include specific capabilities for mobile technologies, generally these software products can be used with mobile web interfaces.
SMS technology can be an effective means of data collection when the research project depends on immediate input from a broad set of respondents, especially when the input is limited to a few data elements.
Mobile DBMS are Database Management Systems for mobile devices which may be optimal for certain types of research projects.
Specialist devices present a representative sample of devices that have been designed for specific disciplines or types of data collection.
Specialist software present a representative sample of software designed for specific types of data.
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