This is a space to post project descriptions, research reports, articles or datasets that are relevant to our project. If you know of projects or documents that relate to what we are doing, let me know.
Using Mobile Phones to Conduct Research in Developing Countries
Brian Dillon [Cornell University]
“The rapid spread of mobile telephony throughout the developing world offers researchers a new and exciting means of data collection. This paper describes and analyzes the ongoing experience of a research project that uses mobile phones to collect high frequency economic data from households in rural Tanzania. In summer 2009, researchers distributed mobile phones to 200 farmers in 15 villages, while simultaneously conducting a short baseline survey with these households. From September 2009 to July 2010, survey participants are interviewed over the phone, once every three weeks, on a prearranged day. I discuss the research design, highlight some of the mistakes made and lessons learnt, and speculate on the applicability of this method in other settings.“
Evaluating the Accuracy of Data Collection on Mobile Phones: A Study of Forms, SMS, and Voice
Somani Patnaik, Emma Brunskill and William Thies [MIT & Microsoft Research India]
“While mobile phones have found broad application in reporting health, financial, and environmental data, there has been little study of the possible errors incurred during mobile data collection. This paper provides the first (to our knowledge) quantitative evaluation of data entry accuracy on mobile phones in a resource-poor setting. Via a study of 13 users in Gujarat, India, we evaluated three user interfaces: 1) electronic forms, containing numeric fields and multiple-choice menus, 2) SMS, where users enter delimited text messages according to printed cue cards, and 3) voice, where users call an operator and dictate the data in real-time.”
Mobile Telephony Access & Usage in Africa
A. Chabosso, C. Stork & Z. Zahonogo [CEFRED, Université d’Abomey Calavi, Benin; Research ICT Africa (RIA), Johannesburg, South Africa; CEDRES, Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso]
“This paper uses data from nationally representative household survey conducted in 17 African countries to analyse mobile adoption and usage.
This paper shows that countries differ in their levels of ICT adoption and usage and also in factors that influence adoption and usage. Income and education vastly enhances mobile adoption but gender, age and membership in social networks have little impact. Income is the main explanatory variable for usage. In terms of mobile expenditure the study also finds linkages to fixed-line, work and public phone usages. These linkages need however be explored in more detail in future.
Mobile expenditure is inelastic with respect to income, ie the share of mobile expenditure of individual income increases less than 1% for each 1% increase in income. This indicates that people with higher income spend a smaller proportion of their income on mobile expenditure compared to those with less income.“
The un-wired continent: Africa’s mobile success story
Vanessa Gray [ITU]
Slightly outdated (2006), but still interesting presentation & analysis of ITU World Communication data on mobile penetration & usage in African countries.
The Innovative Use of Mobile Applications in East Africa
Johan Hellstrom [Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency]
“The Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (Sida) recently published a report that gives an overview of the current state of mobile phone applications for social and economic developments in East Africa. Drawing on successful adoption of mobile applications in the Philippines, this Sida report seeks to answer “what hinders the take off of m-applications for development in East Africa and what role donors play in the process.” While mobile phones is the one of the most widely accessible gateways for information in East Africa, with mobile penetration covering over 40% of the population, sustainable, scalable mobile services for social and economic development are limited. The report is supported by secondary data, statistics, and field work carried out in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, along with numerous interviews, meetings and discussions with key stakeholders in East Africa. Major trends in mobile usage, barriers for increased use of m-applications, as well as opportunities for scaling are discussed.”
Africa: The Impact of The Mobile Phone
Vodafone Policy Paper Series
Bundle of articles and research notes. Concludes with two pieces analyzing (albeit not representative) data on mobile phone use in rural communities in South Africa and Tanzania.