Data Collection Software
What Makes For Good Data Collection Software?
Data collection software is used by people who administer surveys or other large projects that require collecting volumes of similar data from vast numbers of people such as census reports or political polling. There are many software solutions that help to track and administer the questions and answers required by these large projects. However the data collection is a separate piece from either of those aspects.
The software used to collect the data is frequently used by people in the field, either going door to door or standing in public places trying to get people to answer surveys. As such, it needs to be extremely portable. A smartphone or tablet computer solution is ideal.
The software should also integrate other programs in addition to simply the survey. For people who are going door to door, it should have an integrated mapping program that tells them which districts, zones, or regions they are responsible for covering, with the ability to mark off those locations which have already been surveyed, and those where nobody was home when the previous surveyor stopped by.
The data collection software can either prompt the surveyor with the questions to be asked, and allow the surveyor to enter the respondents’ answers, or provide the questions directly to the respondents and allow them to input their answers directly. The first method is generally used to ensure standardisation of responses, while the second is used when there are anonymity issues or perceived bias that would encourage respondents to skew their answers in a more favourable light when speaking to an individual rather than entering their answers in a computer.