Existing programs have had to shift their monitoring and evaluation, or M&E, activities to methods which will be conducted both rapidly and remotely, while humanitarian agencies are faced with an instantaneous need for data that measures the precise impacts of the pandemic. There has also been an increased specialise in ongoing data collection and adaptive management instead of utilizing baseline, midline, and endline metrics for data-driven decision-making, thanks to the rapid evolution of on-the-ground situations.
The two have to make sure the programs existing before, continues uninterrupted while also tracking new indicators on an ongoing basis has led the event community to embrace remote, mobile-based data collection systems including voice calls and text messaging surveys. This has been a dramatic shift from prior years, when face-to-face research was the quality for M&E and other research areas and technology-based solutions were incorporated less often or as an scientific method .
Suddenly, remote data collection is that the only option in many circumstances. As more organizations learn the nuances of varied remote research methodologies, it’s likely to become more widely utilized, even after the pandemic subsides.
How remote data collection differs
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Program impacts, household preferences, and more without having to deploy in-person researchers.
The mobile phones used are often either devices distributed by specific programs or existing personal mobile phones. Both methods have their challenges.
When distributing phones, programs must oversee phone distribution and maintenance.
COVID-19 has accelerated the move to remote data collection tools, but many of those tools are in use for several years, and there are proven best practices that ought to be adhered to so as to enhance research outcomes. 1. Survey modes. Within remote data collection, there are several modes which will be used, and every has unique characteristics.
Surveys are sent one message at a time, allow respondents to answer at their leisure, are best suited to short questionnaires, and may only reach literate populations. Voice calls are often administered through computer-assisted telephone interviewing, during which trained interviewers conduct live calls, or interactive voice response, which uses a prerecorded voice system to ask questions.
CATI most closely resembles face-to-face interviews because it allows for extended interviews, follow-ups by the interviewer, and reaching illiterate populations, and it’s therefore emerged because the favored method for those transitioning projects from in-person methods.
- Population. The population being studied is impacted by the mode and sample source. If organizations have their own lists of program participants and corresponding phone numbers, they will be utilized but have varying success rates. For voice call surveys, many companies employ random digit dialing methods to get lists of phone numbers.
Companies like GeoPoll have connectivity to mobile network operators, which has enabled us to create large databases of mobile subscribers which will then be used for both general population studies and more targeted ones.
By leveraging remote data collection with care now, organizations will set themselves up for fulfillment within the future , enabling them to form faster, more timely, and better informed decisions that help populations in need.
- Questionnaire design. Finally, questionnaires must be designed to be administered remotely, which suggests they’re going to look different from in-person questionnaires.
For example, while CATI can support longer questionnaires than text messaging and IVR surveys, it must be ready to be administered over a voice call without the utilization of visual aids. Text messaging surveys have limitations surrounding both overall questionnaire length and individual question length, and studies have shown they are doing not capture question types like “select all that apply” and other modes.
Questionnaires should be designed with inputs from mobile research experts.
These facts, along side the ever-growing penetration of mobile round the world, make it clear that remote data collection strategies are here to remain , even after the impact of COVID-19 diminishes. By leveraging remote data collection with care now, organizations will set themselves up for fulfillment within the future.