Mobile Data Collection

Why Mobile is the future of Data Collection

Mobile Data Collection

Mobile phone penetration and especially in Africa is growing at a higher rate. In Kenya alone the there are nearly 40 million subscribers on mobile. The opportunity presented by mobile and especially to research and data collection is so immense that you can only ignore mobile data collection at your own peril if you’re a researcher.


Mobile data collection plays a significant role particularly in the evaluators collecting quantitative data for their projects or data collection

Various mobile data collection apps are readily available e.g. open data kit (ODK) this apps enable mobile data collection to become even easier and achievable. Ensuring that your staff particularly the evaluators and data collection staff attend Mobile data collection training is a great step towards realizing the power of mobile

Why go for Mobile Data Collection?

Mobile data collection offers great and effective ways that cut cost and simplifies the process of collecting data. This includes;

Easier Data collection process: Data submitted is in real-time, allowing easier management of data by the top level managers. This allows relevant stakeholders to view the coverage, pace of data collection and which data collectors are submitting data.

Data entry and aggregation made easier:  the long process of double entry response is eliminated since data is fed to the database in the same time as is being collected thus data analysis can be as soon as the collection is done.

Instant data visualization: inclusion of Maps can be possible via use of GIS GPS coordinates to help locate the source of data collection. This is crucial in the analysis.

Easier capture of other sources of data: with mobile data collection, you can easily capture visual data, audible and event video data making it more reliable than paper surveys

Cost Effective:  compare to paper surveys, mobile data collection is more resourceful since to do away with expensive printed paper, data cleaning, transportation, and double entry.

What factors to consider when going mobile

Evaluation Platforms:  choose which feature is most feasible for your survey and also most cost-effective

Technology:  Which mobile technology is fully compatible with your platform i.e. android, smartphone or use of USSD codes. GPS capabilities, pictures, and videos

Budget:  This should consider factors such as travel cost, data collectors, training workshop, phone airtime.

Enroll in training workshops:  there will be the need to train your staff on the technical aspects of mobile data collection and how to configure and operate with the mobile apps for data collection.

Back up options: Like all other sources of data, mobile data collection tools also should offer a backup option to recover and ensure continuity of your work.




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