EfD is implementing Survey Solutions, a free digital platform from the World Bank, to streamline and enhance its data management processes. This transformative step promises to revolutionize the way EfD conducts surveys, making data collection more cost-effective, reliable, and user-friendly.
Before the integration of Survey Solutions, EfD centers employed varied approaches to data collection, ranging from traditional pen-and-paper methods to costly consultant services. However, the introduction of Survey Solutions in 2022 marked a turning point for EfD, providing a free and high-quality solution to data collection.
Agustin Petroni, EfD’s Data Coordinator underscores the platform's cost-effectiveness. EfD Global Hub provides server space at the University of Gothenburg while Agustin Petroni provides service and support to the EfD centers’ researchers and data managers. This allows EfD to allocate resources where they matter most—into the heart of their research.
“I strongly encourage all the centers to take advantage of this powerful tool,” says Agustin Petroni.
Centers have received training
The implementation of Survey Solutions began in 2022 and by 2023, it has been successfully rolled out at centers in Kenya, Vietnam, Chile, and Nigeria. Agustin Petroni has provided training for designated data managers at eight centers, empowering them to use Survey Solutions for efficient data collection. The key to successful adoption lies in the engagement of one person per center trained on the platform, which is usually a dedicated data manager but could be anyone in the research team. This person plays a pivotal role in the process. The centers have also been provided with tablets to use for this purpose.
“Survey solutions ensure high-quality data as quality checks can be done simultaneously with data collection, making it easy to arrest errors as they occur,” says Elly Musembi, Data Manager at EfD Kenya, the first center to implement the use of Survey Solutions.
Works for different survey methods
The advantages of Survey Solutions are manifold. It not only saves time and money but also ensures data quality through automatic checks during the collection process. With minimal errors and cleaner data, researchers benefit from a streamlined workflow, reducing preprocessing times and allowing for quicker data analysis and better results.
Survey Solutions accommodates various interview methods, including personal, web, and telephone interviews. It works offline, enabling researchers to collect data on their tablets in remote areas without internet access. The data can later be transferred via Bluetooth or wifi.
“I find the flexibility in programming questions and the two-tier data quality checks features especially valuable, as they ensure complex questions can be broken down and simplified and the resultant data collected is of high quality,” says Elly Musembi.
Complies with GDPR legislation
Switching to Survey Solutions also has an additional advantage for EfD centers: Complying with the GDPR law. The data is securely stored on the University of Gothenburg’s server which provides a safe repository that fulfills all the GDPR requirements. Moreover, researchers enjoy direct access to the server, eliminating unnecessary hurdles.
Agustin Petroni’s support doesn't end with the adoption phase; he continues to assist in designing questionnaires, setting up hardware and survey parameters, and piloting surveys. His commitment ensures that researchers make the most of Survey Solutions' capabilities.
Looking ahead, EfD envisions a long-term cultural shift towards digitalization and the use of free and open software for data collection and processing. The adoption of Survey Solutions aligns with the goal of harmonizing questionnaires across centers, promoting standardized practices, and facilitating the re-use of data and future data comparisons.
As EfD embraces Survey Solutions, it not only reduces costs and enhances quality but also establishes itself as a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technology for impactful research.
By: Petra Hansson
Facts – advantages of Survey Solutions
It’s a free software
It saves time and money
You get cleaner data and fewer errors
Your data gets quality checked automatically in real time.
The time for getting the data ready for analysis is shorter
It doesn’t require internet in the field. Tablets can collect data in remote areas, connecting via Bluetooth.
The system supports personal, web-based, and telephone interviews
You can send e-mails to a database of addresses or invite people by a link to CAWI, computer-assisted web interviewing, without the assistance of interviewers.
In the case of EfD: The data is stored in a safe server at GU, which complies with the GDPR laws (safety, security, integrity)
The users (a designated person, data manager, or researcher) have direct access to the server.