28 August 2017

Digitalised data collection

Read about our experience of digital data collection with KoBo Toolbox.
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Conducting large surveys is one way of gathering useful information about the communities we work in. Often we use this tool to better understand the adults, youth and children we serve – whether at the beginning or end of an intervention.

ChildFund New Zealand recently trialled the KoBo Toolbox software to conduct our first digitised survey. We surveyed 390 households in Tarawa, Kiribati. This experience was so positive that we also decided to use the software to also conduct another digitised survey, with 423 youth in Timor Leste.

New methods of data collection

Initially we were nervous to use digital technology but now we not only plan to continue to use this software for digitised monitoring as well as evaluations but are encouraging others to try it as well. For humanitarian organisations it is free to use the software once you apply for and receive humanitarian status with KoBo.

Once you are all signed up the first step is to build your survey in KoBo Toolbox on your computer. It’s easy to add questions and skip logic until you have it just right. Once you do, simply deploy the survey with the click of a button and your data collection team can download it to their device and start using it straight away.

Best of all – the data can be collected offline. Once you are connected to the internet you simply sync the data from your Android device to your computer. This is perhaps the most important feature of the software given that most of the communities we work in are remote and internet connections can be dicey at best.

So what you end up with is all your data synchronised to one central place. At this stage you can clean the data and export to Excel and SPSS for analysis, as well as share the raw data with others.

Moving forward

With this software, paper-based surveys can be a thing of the past. No more printing off 30-page surveys, no more paper wastage. The technology makes the whole exercise more interesting as well as time efficient. Our data collection teams were enthusiastic about using the tablet devices and amazed by how much quicker the exercise was. Survey participants were equally intrigued by the use of modern technology. As a result we are more confident to incorporate technology into our future M&E practices.

ChildFund is happy to further share our experience with this software. You can email [email protected] with any questions.

How digitalised data collection is helping charities

We're using digital data collection to gather information about the communities we work in, more quickly. 

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