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The Definitive Guide to Mobile Data Collection in International Development

By Wayan Vota on November 21, 2018

mobile data collection guide

Are you mobile data collection curious? Do you have colleagues who always ask you how to collect qualitative and quantitative data using mobile devices? Or do you want to convince your country teams to finally give up paper? Awesome!

Please send them to Dimagi’s Guide to Mobile Data Collection, which has everything you need to know about moving to mobile data collection.

Importantly, we need to treat mobile data collection the same as any other method of data collection. That means to follow the whole process of understanding your program objectives, defining your data needs, and identifying and implementing a data collection solution that works for you.

Once you have organized your data collection plan, this guide covers these key topics with quick and informative insights:

  1. How to choose the right mobile data collection tool: Learn about the different features that mobile data collection tools offer and how to decipher what you need from what you don’t.
  2. How to design your mobile surveys: Advice on content and delivery design, as well as how to define the user stories for your surveys.
  3. How to build your mobile data collection app: Learn how to choose a development approach, draft a versioning plan, and build an app outline.
  4. How to test your mobile data collection app: Advice and considerations for everything from prototyping to user acceptance testing.
  5. How to deploy your mobile data collection software: Learn how to choose the right device and data plan for your program, as well as how to develop phone usage policies.
  6. How to train your team in mobile data collection: Learn about different approaches to learning, methods of training delivery, and how to reinforce training sessions.
  7. How to sustain your mobile data collection program: Understand how what you do during the development stage of your program will help prepare you for scaling and long-term growth.

Oh, and Dimagi did all of us a big favor and intentionally made this a pretty generic guide, not a marketing gimmick. The only major references to CommCare are in examples of specific features, so you can forward this on to your peers without looking like you’re promoting a specific solution.

You can also download a 40+ page PDF that offers additional examples and advice for setting up your own mobile data collection solution.

More mobile data collection resources

Do you want more mobile data collection guidance and support? Then check out these other ICTworks posts on data collection and analysis using mobile devices:

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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