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Caren Oberg on Using Tablets for Data Collection

My name is Caren Oberg and I am the Principal and Owner of Oberg Research. I am a proud late adopter. Proof? I still use a paper calendar and have Moleskin notebooks dating back years. But I have joyfully embraced tablet applications for data collection. The applications below, not to mention many others, have made the process cheaper, greener, less prone to human error and more innovative.

Rad Resources: All resources below work on iPads and Android tablets, except Story Kit, which is iPad only.

TrackNTime is designed for tracking participant interactions or behaviors in a learning environment.

QuickTap Survey is a survey platform designed specifically for tablets. It is easy to read, pretty to look at, and you can collect data without an internet connection.

Sticky Notes come pre-installed on most tablets. Participants can move sticky notes around the screen, grouping and regrouping, based on questions you ask.

Story Kit allows your participants to recreate their experiences through images and text by using an electronic storybook.

Hot Tips: Consider the type of data you are trying to collect. The majority of tablet apps I have come across can do one type of data collection extremely well, but are not yet built for multi-method data collection. That said, you can easily switch back and forth between two applications and link the data manually by assigning a single id number to both.

Apps eliminate data entry. They do not eliminate data cleaning, nor do they do advanced analyses. Yet.

Lessons Learned: The number of applications developed specifically for evaluators is small. Learning to manipulate applications to fit my needs has been very important. As well as letting go of an app when it is just not going to work for me. Knowledge sharing is also important. I was made aware of Quicktap Survey and StoryKit from my colleague Jennifer Borland of Rockman, et al, who in turn learned about StoryKit at Evaluation 2013.

In that vein I will be talking about all four resources as an AEA Coffee Break webinar on February 20, 2014. Hope you can join.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


2 thoughts on “Caren Oberg on Using Tablets for Data Collection”

  1. Nice share, using tablets for data collection is the best practice. It eliminates the use of paper-based documents & the error caused by them. Moreover with offline mobile forms, users can collect data from any location even without internet.

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