Using mobile technology in a survey does not necessarily imply the need for more human resources in terms of the number of people, but it does require more training and/or technical skills of the people involved. Before planning for smartphone data collection and assigning the survey work to a survey coordinator, in-country health and nutrition staff should reflect on the following questions:
WHAT IS THE SURVEY TEAM EXPERIENCE WITH SMARTPHONES AND MOBILE DATA COLLECTION?
Whether your team is experienced or not, you will need to plan time for training on the mobile aspect:
- If most enumerators do not have any experience with smartphones: We recommend that you set aside a full day of training + half day for examples/simulations for your team to really get sufficient experience with the phones.
- If most enumerators have experience with smartphones: A full day of training, mixing theory, reviewing the questionnaires and examples is usually sufficient. Even if most of your team is returning from previous years, you should plan for this reminder day.
WHAT SHOULD THE SURVEY TEAM SIZE BE?
The survey team should follow the general recommendations for SENS, and there should be no more than six survey teams in total. If you do a complete SENS with all 7 modules, we recommend that each team is assigned two dedicated interviewers (hence two phones per team, one per interviewer). If you are not covering all SENS modules, working with a single interviewer per team may be sufficient. In addition you need the standard team members such as anthropometric measurers, hemoglobin measurers, etc.
WHAT SHOULD THE SURVEY SUPERVISION TEAM SIZE BE?
We recommend a minimum of one supervisor per two survey teams throughout the survey – and perhaps even more supervisors during the first one or two days. In an MDC survey, the supervisors need to, in addition to normal supervision chores, assist the survey manager in checking and clearing data entered by the interviewers on the mobile phones before being sent to the server. This procedure might take some time, especially if all modules are used and the teams are covering a large number of households per day. It is recommended that the supervisors and survey managers collaborate on this at the end of the data collection day.
DOES THE SURVEY MANAGER HAVE TECHNICAL SKILLS?
Is the technical skill level of the available survey manager and surveyors adequate to use the smartphones effectively? The first time a survey manager is managing an MDC survey, in-country support from Headquarters or regional office should be sought to ensure proper ´on-the-job´ training on mobile technology. For survey managers with more experience with mobile data collection, remote support from HQ or the regional office will be available.
The survey manager should have adequate skills to manage the server in case of a problem, however the operations should ensure that adequate IT competence is available in-country in case support is needed. Even experienced survey managers might not have the IT competence to manage unexpected errors during data collection, data transfer, or server handling.