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  • Writer's pictureXing Brew

Introduction to Open Data Kit (ODK)

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

In the realm of data collection, the traditional pen and paper questionnaire has given way to the transformative power of Open Data Kit (ODK). This digital platform has revolutionized the way we gather and manage information in various fields, from social science research and global health to humanitarian aid and beyond.

What is ODK?

ODK is a powerful set of open-source tools designed to facilitate data collection, management, and analysis in a variety of fields. It has become an essential resource for organizations, researchers, and individuals working on data collection projects worldwide.

ODK Collect App
ODK Collect App

ODK offers a user-friendly, mobile-based solution that allows researchers to create customized survey forms, which can be easily deployed on smartphones or tablets. These digital forms not only save time but also enhance data accuracy and integrity. Gone are the days of manual data entry and transcription errors in cumbersome paper questionnaires, as ODK captures data electronically and even supports multimedia attachments like photos and GPS coordinates.


ODK's offline capabilities enable data collection in remote or low-connectivity areas, ensuring that critical information is gathered regardless of the environment. This versatility makes it well-suited for fieldwork, randomized control trials, and humanitarian initiatives in remote settings. Data collected via ODK can be instantly synchronized with central databases when internet connection is available, streamlining the data collection process.

Two of the key components of the ODK ecosystem are ODK Collect, a mobile app for data collection, and ODK Central, a server for data submission and management. ODK's open-source nature encourages collaboration and innovation within the community, resulting in a continually evolving set of features and capabilities.


In this upcoming series of articles and videos, we will draw from our own experience using ODK and delve deeper into the various aspects of this tool, guiding you through its installation and configuration, best practices and tips for improving data quality and accuracy, and real-world applications to help you make the most of this invaluable resource.


 

ResearchPro offers comprehensive support for researchers looking to leverage ODK in their projects. Our expert team is well-versed in ODK's capabilities and can provide end-to-end development and management of ODK-based data pipelines (including ODK Collect and ODK Central set up, survey form development, data storage and management, and analysis). We also offer guidance on best practices to improve the quality and accuracy of data collected, data security, and other support. Please get in touch if you or your organization would like to discuss how we can empower you and support your research endeavours.


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