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Since 2012, GeoPoll has established itself as the leading mobile-based research provider, conducting surveys via modes including SMS and voice call in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Over time, we have perfected the processes and technologies we use to gather reliable data via mobile. Last week, we sought to share this expertise through a webinar that answered some fundamental questions on mobile research.

The experienced panel for this webinar consisted of Christine Mueni (Business Development Lead, East Africa), Scott Lansell (VP, International Development & Relief), and King Beach (Director of Solutions). Roxana Elliott (VP, Marketing) moderated the webinar. Panelists presented on the different mobile modes and then answered several questions from the audience in this interactive session.

Here is the webinar recording, in case you missed it:

Key Takeaways from the webinar

1. There are several benefits to conducting research via mobile phone.

Mobile surveys’ reach is wider than ever with the growing mobile penetration around the globe. With mobile, there are several modes to choose from, the targeting can be hyperlocal, and most importantly, data can be collected remotely. Remote research saves time and money and transcends barriers such as poor infrastructure and field inaccessibility such as during a natural calamity, war, or disease outbreaks such as Ebola and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

2. The choice of the survey mode is as important as the project itself

There are several mobile research modes, which the panel went through in detail, and each method has its pros and cons, depending on the goal of the research project. Several factors determine the choice of the best mode to use, such as the target audience, the type of survey questions, length of the survey, and data connectivity availability. Short, concise surveys, for example, work well for SMS, but longer surveys incorporating pictures will work with mobile web or app. If the target audience is illiterate or the surveys are long, phone interviews via CATI may be best.

>> Learn about GeoPoll’s Mobile research modes.

3. During COVID-19, mobile research may be the only option

In the past, GeoPoll has gathered data remotely in otherwise inaccessible areas. For example, when Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, GeoPoll’s on-the-ground data helped international and relief organizations focus relief efforts. During the coronavirus pandemic, face-to-face interviews have been deemed impractical. Yet beyond regular data needs, organizations need to understand how the pandemic has impacted communities and markets, making remote research imperative. This has led to the rise in remote research methods.

4. CATI is a good substitute for face to face surveys

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing involves trained enumerators calling respondents, asking them survey questions, and recording the answers on an application. It is similar to face to face interviews in that it allows for probing for quality responses, response reinforcement and accommodates longer questionnaires. However, it has some limitations and challenges, including CATI reaching only mobile phone-owning populations, and requiring remote monitoring of enumerators. There are also cultural and socioeconomic nuances that must be considered when conducting CATI calls, such as respondents in certain areas responding better to female interviewers. Now that face to face interviews are not as applicable as in normal times, GeoPoll transitioned to remote call centers and is running over 80,000 CATI interviews every month.

Learn more about CATI research here.

The presentation deck is available for free download here. If you have questions about mobile research or the modes presented in the webinar, please do not hesitate to contact us.