OECS upgrades data collection methods

The Statistical Services Unit aids in transition to computer-based surveys.

Staff members of the Statistical Services Unit at the OECS Commission recently teamed up with enumeration officers of Saint Lucia’s Central Statistical Office, to conduct the quarterly Labor Force Survey with the use of electronic tablets.

The activity served as a hands-on learning exercise, as the OECS member states transition from the use of paper, to computer-assisted tools to undertake surveys.

Information Management Officer at the OECS Statistical Services Unit, Abiola Sandiford, said that the exercise highlights the benefits of transitioning to computer-based surveys.

“The objective of hands-on learning is to help staff members better understand and appreciate the benefits of utilizing electronic tablets for data collection. Computer-assisted interviews offer a variety of advantages over the traditional paper and pencil interviews, including improved data quality, cost reduction and increased efficiency in the processing of data,” Sandiford said.

The exercise complemented the hands-on regional training workshop on Survey Solutions software for computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI) which was financed and facilitated by the World Bank in September, 2016. This regional workshop, convened in collaboration with the OECS Commission, provided staff of the national statistical offices and the OECS Commission with an in-depth introduction to the features and functions of the Survey Solution CAPI technology.

The Saint Lucia CSO first introduced CAPI in 2013, with the view of modernizing and enhancing its statistical data collection process. From that time, CAPI technology has been integrated and used as the primary mode for household-based surveys, such as the quarterly Labour Force Survey, the 2016 Survey of Living Conditions, the Household Budget Survey and other ad hoc surveys.

The OECS Commission, under the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Program is supporting the transition from paper-administered to computer-administered surveys. The experience gained by the staff members through their participation in the data collection exercise will better equip them to promote and support the full implementation of CAPI surveys by all member states.

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