Do PDAs reduce transcription error compared to paper surveys?

This came up on IPA’s research methods discussion list recently, and Nate Barker provided links to two papers suggesting that PDAs do help surveyors capture given answers correctly.  They’re both from a few years ago, so with improvements in hardware and survey softwares the advantage should be even greater today.  Blaya, Cohen, Rodriguez, Kim & Fraser (2008) compare PDAs to paper surveys in Peru, and a World Bank working paper from 2011 compares mobile phones to paper in Guatemala.  (From the comments, Giacomo Zanello also suggests this 2012 paper by Fafchamps, McKenzie, Quinn & Woodruff as well.)

2 thoughts on “Do PDAs reduce transcription error compared to paper surveys?

  1. Hi Rachel,

    Many thanks for sharing this. Here is another useful reference on the use of PDAs in firms’ survey:

    Fafchamps, M., McKenzie, D., Quinn, S., and Woodruff, C. (2012). Using PDA consistency checks to increase the precision of profits and sales measurement in panels. Journal of Development Economics 98, 51-57.



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