Computerized tablet based versus traditional paper- based survey methods: results from adolescent's health research in schools of Maharashtra, India
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World Health Organization, Noncommunicable and Tobacco Surveillance, India
International Institute for Population Sciences, Department of Extra Mural Studies and Distance Education, India
School of Preventive Oncology, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A297
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Technological advancement is growing very fast in India and majority of young population is handling electronic devices often during leisure as well as at work. This study indicates that electronic tablets are less time consuming and improves survey response rate over the traditional paper-pencil survey method.

Intervention or response:
An Android-based Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS) questionnaire was used with the help of an Open Data Kit to assess adolescent's health. Effectiveness of tablet survey was tested in 15 public schools of Mumbai, India over traditional paper-pencil survey method. The questionnaire was administered in three different languages. Tablet and Paper surveys were simultaneously and alternatively used i.e. first tablet followed by paper pencil in one school and in next school, first paper and then tablet to balance uniformity in the survey method.

Results and lessons learnt:
A total of 600 students aged 13-17 years were covered in the survey for this experimental study. Interestingly all sampled students participated in the survey. The overall response rate using tablet survey was higher than the paper based survey method. Average time taken to fill in the tablet survey was lesser as compared to the paper based survey. It is remarkable to state that missing values on paper for most variables were more as compared to the tablet. Most of the students favoured tablet method of data collection as they found it very user friendly, convenient, less human error while filling the answers and less time taking.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Use of electronic tablets for conducting public health surveys suggests an improved response rate and time saving as compared to traditional paper based survey methods. Thus, the present study strongly recommends that tablet method of data collection may be the best method and can be used as effective, economic and quick survey method in future.

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