The low tech of high tech: people & paper
Any systematic data collection effort requires collectors (ex. observers) to gather information in a uniform manner in order to enhance data quality. Successful implementation of a common methodology is a prerequisite of a comprehensive, statistical assessment of an entire political process (ex. government service delivery, policy implementation, electoral process, etc.)
Preparing collectors for this type of process most often involves in-person trainings (ex. Training of Trainers (TOT) for large groups), supplemented with guiding materials and simulations.
In order to observe three successive weekends of elections in Nigeria (National Assembly, Presidential & Gubernatorial), Project 2011 Swift Count plans to deploy approximately 8,000 observers to a representative random sample of polling stations in all 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country.
Preparing the associated materials and trainings to guarantee the ability to collect, analyze and share comprehensive information, involved just some of the following:
- 14,228 individually-printed checklists with unique observer name, polling unit, and supervisor mobile
- 11,172 accounting forms
- 73,228 A4 envelopes with unique pre-printed labels
- 798 bags packed over three days (in 46 hours)
- Over 7,000 observer telephone numbers collected and digitized
- 37 simultaneous training workshops for 798 LGA Supervisors
- 798 simultaneous training workshops for 7,114 observers
- 400 government (INEC) accreditation forms filled with 8,071 names
Even with a sophisticated rapid-response SMS data collection system, this type of effort still involves a stunning investment of time and resources in people (training) and paper (materials).
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