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Published byKatharine Greer Modified over 8 years ago
1 Survey Technology
Data Collection Tools Available in the Market 1. Paper Survey 2. Smart Paper 3. Cell Phones 4. Personal Digital Assistants - PDAs 5. Mini Laptops
1. Paper Survey - Advantages Easy to put concept into work. Knowledge of specialized software not required. Survey can be in vernacular for low additional cost. The survey can be printed and sent out to the field as soon as the questionnaire format is finalized.
Disadvantages The data has to be digitized post-survey for analysis. This means a data entry software that ensures that each field is logically consistent has to be designed. This requires a specialist – software designer. During data collection, surveyors can enter meaningless values into fields. The survey data has to be manually entered into computers implying delay between data collection and analysis. Huge waste of paper and space.
2. Smart Paper Clever document reading software available in the market (eg formic fusion) The initial design phase is same as paper surveys. The survey is created in a special software instead of a generic text editor. The software is like PAINT, intuitive for designing surveys with drag and drop features
Advantages Using a scanner, the survey can be directly scanned into a database. As the scan is happening the software checks for logical consistencies. Software can read information from PDF files as well. So as data entry is happening, the survey gets digitized in two separate ways.
Disadvantages High upfront costs. The paper wastage problem still not solved.
3. Mobile Phones Uniphore (India) and several other companies have developed mobile based surveys for 10 languages. Researcher provides survey paper copy and variable list to company. Company modifies voice-recognition software accordingly. Surveyor calls in a number to contact a central server.
Advantages Does not require a fancy mobile. Data directly stored into database The mobile software performs online logical analysis of responses.
Issues Requires good mobile connectivity. Accuracy from voice to digital still at the 90 – 95% level Number of technology providers small. So costs are still high.
4. Personal Digital Assistants/Smart Phones
Advantages Survey software available for PDAs (eg Pendragon) Smart enough to do logical checks locally (does not require mobile connectivity). Data is available for use immediately. PDAs are becoming cheap, and over the long run save money over paper surveys.
Disadvantages of PDAs Upfront costs Vernacular software very expensive Needs a software-specialist to implement surveys
5. Mini Laptops
Conclusions Electronic equipment for surveys getting cheaper, easier to use and more reliable. Software becoming more user friendly, inexpensive and easily available Large-sample paper surveys will be a a thing of the past soon (we hope)
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