Paperless, digitized survey: Transforming a new way of surveying institutions and households in Riau

CIFOR partnered with the Center for Disaster Study of University of Riau to update the baseline data for institutions and households. The previous data were limited to Dompas and its satellite villages. With the hope and expectation of upscaling, CIFOR and the University of Riau worked together to design an institutional and household survey at the main village of study, Dompas village, and five other satellite villages namely Tanjung Belit, Sukajadi, Sungai Pakning, Buruk Bakul and Sejangat. With a sample of 110 households at Dompas and 150 households from the five satellite villages, we surveyed the households to understand their practices regarding agricultural business and their perceptions on peatlands, fire prevention and peatland restoration. For the institutions, we surveyed them to document their profiles and understand their perceptions on fire prevention and peatland restoration.

In this survey, we introduced a new way of surveying institutions and households in Riau. Using Kobo Toolbox, the completed questionnaire forms were uploaded via the Android-based mobile devices of the enumerators. The survey process can be conducted online and offline, which allows the enumerators to cope with intermittent internet access in the field. Once the enumerator has proper internet access, they can submit the data to the server. Once the data are submitted, they are automatically compiled and stored in the database. This digital process is encrypted and uses a secure connection. We used layered protection and stored the data in a protected environment, to comply with human research protocols.

As a new way of surveying institutions and households in Riau, we found that this paperless, digitized survey is effective and efficient. Paper-based surveys require intensive efforts in terms of collecting and inputting the data from paper into a digital version. The paperless, digitized survey has been resource and time efficient. It also enables faster, improved workflow because the data are automatically saved in a database. We are therefore able to monitor the survey process from afar and immediately perform analysis once the survey is completed.