From paper data collection to mobile data collection

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From paper data collection to mobile data collection

Do you know reasons why you should switch from paper data collection to mobile data collection? Let us learn together here.

Advances in information technology have opened exciting new avenues for how research is conducted, with huge implications for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). One of these advances is the use of Mobile Data Collection (MDC).

Instead of collecting data on paper using a pen, which is then manually entered into a database for analysis, data is input into a device which is then capable of exporting directly into a centralized database for processing and analysis.

Most of the governments globally have adopted such mechanisms including the Kenyan government which used this approach in the 2019 population census.

Here are the key advantages of Mobile Mobile Data Collection.

Data Quality.

Some functionalities that are in-built in mobile data collection platforms allow the use of skips and consistency checks to ensure only the right data is collected. This ensures that the data collected is validated at the point of conducting an interview, therefore, reducing errors.

Safer data storage and backup.

Paper can easily be lost and destroyed which can cause issues if data needs to be re-accessed in the future. Digital mobile data can easily be stored and backed up in cloud storage for which the servers can be freely accessed on some platforms.

Increase Speed & Efficiency.

Data can be accessed in real-time in the main server. The turnaround time required for analysis and evaluation of data is greatly reduced. This is helpful in providing better responsiveness to issues emerging on the field.

Cost reduction.

A lot of costs is currently incurred in paper data collection. Such costs are printing of questionnaires, data entry among many others. Elimination of such redundancy by using mobile data collection has a ripple effect in cost reduction in the entire process.

Environment Conservation.

Economies globally are rushing against time in saving the globe as a result of significant climate change. As we know that trees have been used in making paper, therefore leading to a reduction in forest cover. By reducing the use of paper especially in coming up with paper questionnaires, and adopting Mobile Data Collection techniques, will significantly save the globe against climate change. Through this, we will be able to increase the global forest cover.

Have you developed curiosity on how to use Mobile Data Collection Techniques as an individual or organization?

All is well!

We at African Centre for Data Science and Analytics have taken this initiative to allow you to learn Mobile Data Collection using Open Data Kit (ODK) and Kobo Toolbox to make you an expert in this field.

Visit our e-learning portal to get started.

You will get to understand how to enter a questionnaire into the server (Kobo Toolbox), grouping questions, conduct skip, and consistency checks to ensure data quality, deployment of the questionnaire, linking ODK collect with the server, and finally how to conduct field data collection.

Theoretical learning has never been effective to enhance any practical skills, take the initiative and learn this from our platform.


  1. I’m grateful for this courses, but I would like to know the difference between this Mobile data collection and the old one known as Computer assisted personal interview (CAPI) where also they use tablets for collecting the data?
    Thank you for your time and consideration


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