Replication data for: Real-Time Social Data Collection in Rural Bangladesh via a ‘Microtasks for Micropayments’ Platform on Android Smartphones
Version: 1– Released: Wed May 17 04:32:25 CDT 2017
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Data & Analysis
Data Citation
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Original Publication
Results found in this publication can be replicated using these data.
Bell AR, Ward PS, Killilea ME, Tamal MEH (2016) Real-Time Social Data Collection in Rural Bangladesh via a ‘Microtasks for Micropayments’ Platform on Android Smartphones. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0165924.
ID: DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0165924
Data Citation Details
Study Global IDhdl:11529/10935
AuthorsAndrew Reid Bell (Department of Environmental Studies, New York University); Patrick S. Ward (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)); Mary E. Killilea (Department of Environmental Studies, New York University); Md. Ehsanul Haque Tamal (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))
ProducerInternational Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Logo; International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Logo; International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Logo
Production DateNovember 10, 2016
Production PlaceBangladesh
Software ODK (Open Data Kit); MATLAB
Funding AgencyUSAID and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
DistributorInternational Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Logo; International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Logo; International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Logo
Distributor ContactAndrew Reid Bell (Department of Environmental Studies, New York University, 285 Mercer St., New York, NY, 10003, United States of America),
Distribution DateNovember 10, 2016
Deposit DateMay 17, 2017
Description and Scope

The advent of cheap smartphones in rural areas across the globe presents an opportunity to change the mode with which researchers engage hard-to-reach populations. In particular, smartphones allow researchers to connect with respondents more frequently than standard household surveys, opening a new window into important short-term variability in key measures of household and community wellbeing. In this paper, we present early results from a pilot study in rural Bangladesh using a ‘microtasks for micropayments’ model to collect a range of community and household living standards data using Android smartphones. We find that more frequent task repetition with shorter recall periods leads to more inclusive reporting, improved capture of intra-seasonal variability, and earlier signals of events such as illness. Payments in the form of mobile talk time and data provide a positive development externality in the form of expanded access to mobile internet and social networks. Taken to scale, programs such as this have potential to transform data collection in rural areas, providing near-real-time windows into the development of markets, the spread of illnesses, or the diffusion of ideas and innovations.

Keywordsdata collection (AGROVOC); electronic data transmission (AGROVOC); households (AGROVOC); surveys (AGROVOC); Bangladesh (AGROVOC); data collection (AGROVOC); rural areas (AGROVOC)
Unit of Analysishouseholds
Kind of Datasurvey data
Data Collection / Methodology
Sampling ProcedureThe central design criterion underlying our sample selection was to capture ‘potential early adopters,’ people in rural Bangladesh who might reasonably be expected to be among the first to obtain smartphones. We focused our case study in Rangpur district, a rural district in Rangpur division in northwestern Bangladesh. From the eight upazilas (sub-district administrative units) in the district, we selected the two with the highest literacy rates in the 2011 Bangladesh census –Mithapukur and Rangpur Saddar. We randomly selected 40 villages from a pooled list of all villages in the two upazilas, and for each selected village, solicited a short list of 25 potential participants from the local agricultural extension officer. The officer was asked to recommend farmers with whom they had had contact, who were known to have or use mobile phones, and who might be inclined to use a smartphone. This approach focuses only on officers’ assessments of technical capacity, and does not explicitly target gender or any social class. From this list of 25 names provided, we randomly selected 12–13 participants for our study (for a total of 480 participants across the 40 villages). By soliciting a larger number of names directly and then randomly selecting a subset, we hoped to better capture aptitude for smartphones than would be possible in a simple random survey, but avoid any issues of patronage that could arise through direct solicitation of names. As might be expected from our design and sample eligibility criteria, our sample is typically younger, more literate, and more highly educated than a typical household head in roughly the same area.
Collection ModeMobile based survey
Data Availability
Number of Files 20
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"Replication data for: Real-Time Social Data Collection in Rural Bangladesh via a ‘Microtasks for Micropayments’ Platform on Android Smartphones", hdl:11529/10935