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6.3 Having your form reviewed

It is essential for a third-party to test the form before deploying it to the field to avoid any accidental oversight(forgetting an answer option in a list, forgetting constraints, forgetting a question hint, etc.). The objective in this and the next section is to try by all means to “break” your survey and find any errors or flaws before starting data collection. You can be sure that if you don’t, your enumerators will find them in the field at the least opportune moment!

Make sure you have the tools tested by your thematic project managers, technical colleagues familiar with mobile data collection, enumerators, and any other relevant stakeholder - they may have some good ideas for improvement that you may not have thought of.

There are different options, depending on what you think is necessary.


By a person outside the project

Asking a person who is not involved in the survey or related project will test the clarity of the form (including logic and questions). The person will also be able to provide their opinion on the functional and intuitive aspect of the questionnaire from a user’s point of view. The person should also check the constraints by trying to add impossible values, such as impossible numerical values or wrong formats (email/phone). This step will eventually lead to steps of rewording, adding hints, constraints and/or skipping questions.

By someone familiar with form design

The more complex your form is and the more it is going to be used (either at a particular time or for long-term re-use), the more you will need to study the way it has been designed. Doing so is essential to review the technical and methodological components of the form (and therefore need someone with extensive experience designing surveys).

By those who will use the form

Don’t hesitate to ask your enumerators for feedback too - they are the people after all who will actually use it, and they will usually know the contexts in which the survey will be used better than you do. This can also be a workshop during enumerator training, where all questions are reviewed and the translations are reviewed/edited/confirmed.

Don’t forget that the perspective of the enumerators should be taken into account at the design stage, even before the testing phase.

You should see section 5.2 General form design principles - 5.2.4 Give your enumerators the incentive to collect data of good quality!. The following is a brief summary of why it is important to include enumerators in this process.

As they will be key actors in the success of your survey, involve them in clarifying definitions or questions and take into consideration their comments and suggestions before finalizing the forms. It is capital to show experienced data collectors the added value of MDC (how easily the results can be visualized, how the standardization of the responses facilitates the analysis, how their photos can help understand a situation better than words, how GPS points can help make beautiful maps…) and how it will not be a hindrance to their work in the field. Proving to them that their role and the quality of their data collection is even more important now that the data is used more thoroughly empowers the staff using MDC and makes them deliberate actors of the survey’s success.

The aim is to make them even more willing to fill in the survey to the best of their ability. It is therefore important to include them in the design, and not to neglect the training and testing phases to ensure the quality of the data captured.