Pdas for data collection in resource poor settings
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PDAs for Data Collection in Resource-Poor Settings Project HOPE’s experience What is a PDA? PDA = Personal Digital Assistant Basically, a hand-held computer Touch screen – use stylus to operate Weight: 3.8 oz Memory: 64 MB New ones have wireless capacity PDA software for programming

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What is a pda l.jpg
What is a PDA?

  • PDA = Personal Digital Assistant

  • Basically, a hand-held computer

  • Touch screen – use stylus to operate

  • Weight: 3.8 oz

  • Memory: 64 MB

  • New ones have wireless capacity

Pda software for programming l.jpg
PDA software for programming

  • We use the Pocket PC Creation Software

  • http://www.pocketpccreations.com/

  • Many options exist

How it works l.jpg
How it works

  • Enter data

  • (View data)

  • Upload data from PDA to computer

  • Export to Excel (or other program) for analysis

Steps to using pda l.jpg
Steps to using PDA

  • Develop questionnaire on paper

  • Test questions

  • Thoroughly train staff on use of the PDA, including field test

  • Set up procedures for uploading and backing up data

  • Set up databases or excel calculation sheets to process and analyze the collected data

Why staff decided to use pdas l.jpg
Why staff decided to use PDAs

  • Lots of paperwork

  • Keep accurate and accessible records

  • Provide “real-time” data

  • Technology geeks in key places

  • Ruled out other alternatives

Advantages l.jpg

  • Savings in money, materials, and time

  • Increased data quality and cleaner data

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  • User-friendly and easy to transport

  • Less intimidating to respondents than multi-page paper questionnaires

  • Easy transfer of data to database

  • Not labor intensive

  • Promotes data utilization

  • Environmentally friendly

Advantages11 l.jpg

  • Increases capacity of staff:

    • Technology use

    • Provides the tools they need to make decisions in the field

    • Provides the ability to better manage your project and make real-time decisions

  • Provides an integrated data system which also collects information on the program’s everyday operating activities

Disadvantages l.jpg

  • Need human resources to manage and help staff use the PDAs

  • Equipment requires maintenance and is sensitive to damage or possible theft

  • Memory capacity is limited

  • Once the form is designed and linked to the system, changes are difficult

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  • Data must be downloaded as soon as possible to prevent possible loss of data

  • In rural areas sometimes difficult to get power to charge battery

Settings l.jpg

  • Namibia

  • Mozambique

Settings15 l.jpg

  • Nicaragua

  • Guatemala

  • Thailand

Applications l.jpg

  • Baseline & final surveys (child survival KPC; OVC)

  • HIV/AIDS prevention surveys

  • Household surveys (economic & health data)

  • Domestic violence surveys

  • Quality assessment checklists

  • Village mapping

Recommendations l.jpg

  • Detailed preparation and planning are crucial.

  • The M&E plan as a whole needs to be clearly developed and detailed enough early in the project in order to design the information system.

  • Questionnaire needs to be complete in order to create the screens used in the PDAs to collect information.

More recommendations l.jpg
More recommendations

  • Feedback & results to data collectors/field staff/beneficiaries is important (don’t let data get entered into machine never to come out again).

  • Training is essential prior to implementation:

    • On survey questions (using paper)

    • Hands-on with instrument in field

  • Backing up data nightly is critical.

Still more recommendations l.jpg
Still more recommendations

  • Having a technology “champion” at the field level is crucial to sustainability.

  • Having a technology “champion” at HQ is crucial to supporting the field and usually to getting it started.

Conclusion l.jpg

Project HOPE has found that PDAs can be an effective tool to help programs collect, manage, and efficiently use programmatic data in a variety of challenging resource-poor settings.