5 Online applications for data collection in times of pandemic and lockdown (sites and software)

Data collection is critical in research. It entails collecting and analysing data on relevant variables in a methodical manner that allows one to address stated research questions, test hypotheses, and assess results.

However, with the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it through public health measures, social isolation, lockdown, and quarantine, the data collection landscape is facing a long-term challenge that may impede not only how data is collected in the coming months, but also how other types of data are used.

The pandemic and lockdown also provided a chance for adaptation and the rapid development of online data gathering tools. Here are a few of the new software tools that will assist you in collecting data during this epidemic;

TeamScope (Android, iOS & Web)

A novel method for safe data collection, Teamscope is not just a web-only application but can be used without an internet connection. Teamscope’s offline-first mobile survey software for Android and iOS lets researchers build sophisticated mobile forms, collect qualitative and quantitative data offline, and display the results in only a few clicks.

Online applications for data collection

Teamscope places a high value on data security. Data is encrypted on mobile devices, and users must establish a four-digit passcode to access the app in addition to a username and password. After 30 seconds of inactivity or closing the app, all sessions on the Teamscope mobile app time out and require the user to input their password.

Researchers may utilise Teamscope’s case management function while conducting a longitudinal study. Using this feature, they may build cases for certain individuals, distribute those cases to other people in their project, and submit data for those cases at various times.

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The Android & Web KoboToolbox

The KoBoToolbox is a free and open-source mobile data collection application. Humanitarian organisations like the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and Save the Children utilise KoBo Toolbox extensively for data input.

Online applications for data collection

Entering data is as simple as using a web browser or the Kobo Toolbox Android app. Data input may be done with KoboCollect on Android phones and tablets even when the phone or tablet is offline. Researchers may utilise KoBoToolbox’s online application to view, analyse, share, and download their gathered data. KoBoToolbox may be installed on a local computer or a remote server for more advanced users.

Magpi (Android & iOS)

Users may build mobile forms online and offline using Magpi, a data collection tool for mobile devices. It is used in various fields, including health, agriculture, the environment, and industry, where quick and low-cost mobile surveys make large-scale research possible.

Online applications for data collection

In addition to mobile surveys and automated updates, Magpi also captures pictures and GPS coordinates. Incorporated workflows make it possible to feed user data into almost any web-accessible system, such as a Google spreadsheet, a Salesforce account, or SQL databases.

Creating a form and installing the app are the only two steps required to collect data. Using a smartphone, tablet, or iPad with this ease and efficiency means you can start gathering data right away.

Android Open Data Kit

Open Data Kit (ODK) is open-source software that collects, manages, and uses data in resource-constrained settings created by the lockdownsOpen Data Kit (ODK) is open-source software that collects, manages, and uses data. ODK’s mission is to provide open-source and standards-based tools that are simple to try, simple to use, change and grow (ODK website).

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Online applications for data collection

Open Data Kit enables researchers to input and gathers data, from text to images to geographic location. ODK is available in many languages and operates offline to make these tools more broadly available and used.

Team members may choose from various ready-to-use mobile, desktop, and server devices or create bespoke solutions to meet their specific requirements. The Open Data Kit community provides its members with two distinct software suites, ODK and ODK-X. The former offers easy-to-use technologies with a track record of wide-scale implementation for mobile data collection. This software package is suitable for the majority of users. Later software, called ODK-X, provides more sophisticated workflow-supporting capabilities.

REDcap (Android, iOS & Web)

REDCap is an electronic data capture solution for the web, smartphone, tablet, and iPad to create electronic case report forms and maintain databases.

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Vanderbilt University students developed REDCap in 2004 when Most EDC systems at the time were designed for large clinical studies. It wasn’t until April of this year that REDcap launched its iOS and Android apps, allowing users with slow or no internet to gather data using their smartphones and tablets.

Conclusion

With the covid 19 pandemic in view, Secure, dependable, and scalable research is becoming more dependent on remote and online collecting applications. This is because these applications are so effective and dependable, even when used offline by providing a new study avenue to explore. This software and application support designing research-specific forms that function in even the most difficult settings and are known for their flexibility and adaptability; they also guarantee secure data input, collaborative data entry and quicker data analysis and visualisation.

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Ethical and technological problems are always present when working with data in research. The FAIR principles state that data should be reusable, findable, accessible, and interoperable. They also state that. However, not every data-collecting technology can be utilised for sensitive, clinical, or research data, even if it is digital.

According to our study, when it comes to mobile data gathering, Teamscope stands out and is the finest option. It’s impossible to find another software that includes data encryption, password lock, cross-device compatibility with iOS and Android, and support for cross-sectional and longitudinal research in the same package as Teamscope.



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