A quality Assurance framework for digital household survey processes in South Africa
Hattas, Mogamat Mahier
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Official household-based survey statistics is predominantly collected using the paper-and-pen data collection (PAPDC) method. In recent times, the world has seen a global rise in the use of digital technology, especially the use of mobile handheld devices for the collection of survey data in various fields of statistical collection. Various sectors in the population require data for a multitude of purposes, from planning, monitoring and during the evaluation of projects and programmes. The pressure of attaining the data often requires data or information producers to gather more data or information more frequently with improved quality, efficiency, and accuracy. The quality of data or information collected remains uncertain as more surveys enter the global arena. The overall survey quality needs to improve continuously. The data used may not be trustworthy and users should be aware of this. There should be a continuous holistic assessment of the validity and reliability of data before these are used (T. Chen, Raeside, & Khan, 2014). Digital data collection (DDC) offers national statistical organisations (NSOs) in Africa possible, albeit partial, solutions to several current quality, performance, and cost-efficiency concerns. Potential benefits found in the literature for DDC methods over PAPDC methods include, inter alia: increased speed of data collection, increased data accuracy, timeous availability of data, higher data quality, effective data security and lower costs for data-collection processes. Most NSOs in Africa, including South Africa, currently rely on manual, paper-based data collection methods for continuous official household survey collection. Paper-based methods tend to be slower, to rely on manual reporting and involve more survey-intensive resources. With the rise of handheld mobile Global Positioning Systems (GPS) enabled devices, official household surveys are able to monitor surveys spatially, and in real-time. The information could be securely synchronised to a central secure database, to allow for immediate post-processing and data analysis.