Poster Topical Area: Methods and Protocols
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 680
Objective: In-Home Observations (IHOs) help understand behaviors surrounding the use of supplementary food rations in the household. Paper-based methods used in prior studies were prone to data quality issues. We describe a tablet-based IHO data collection tool developed by the Food Aid Quality Review Project.
Methods: An ongoing field trial in Sierra Leone is studying the effectiveness of four specialized foods for treatment of moderate acute malnutrition in young children. IHOs are conducted over five consecutive days on a sample of participating households (target n=448). We developed a tablet-based data collection tool using Open Data Kit and Enketo Webforms to record information about the following activities: ration porridge preparation; ration consumption (by anyone, in any form); consumption of other foods by the beneficiary child; breastfeeding; giving away or selling the ration; household visitors; other uses of the ration. Timestamps record activity durations; a repeat function allows time recording of multiple activities occurring at the same time. Questions about each corresponding activity appear by selecting a separate button. After each activity, data are stored in the web browser and the form is refreshed. Data are collected offline and uploaded to a server at the end of the observation when the internet is available.
Results: The tool has been used in 114 participating households of a planned sample size of 448.Benefits of the tool include easier collection of activity durations, allowing for a larger sample size; reduced error through a simplified form with built-in logic; improved data management by avoiding cumbersome double data entry; a raw dataset requiring fewer manipulations. Research Assistants report liking the tool. Immediate access to data allows the team to troubleshoot more effectively and manage issues during data collection. Challenges encountered include device malfunction and freezing of tablets requiring replacement in the field. In addition, any notes apart from the tool must be hand-written.
Conclusions: Use of a tablet-based offline platform for IHOs facilitated data collection and improved data quality. The tablets had a number of benefits over paper forms used in our prior studies. With experience, further improvements are possible.
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University.