Fisheries Journal Articles

Comparing the efficiency of paper-based and electronic data capture during face-to-face interviews

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face-to-face interviews, Electronic Data Capture methods, Electronic Data Capture methods, Western Australia


On-site surveys involving face-to-face interviews are implemented globally across many scientific disciplines. Incorporating new technologies into such surveys by using electronic devices is becoming more common and is widely viewed to be more cost-effective and accurate. However, Electronic Data Capture methods (EDC) when compared to traditional Paper-based Data Capture (PDC) are often implemented without proper evaluation of any changes in efficiency, especially from surveys in coastal and marine environments. A roving creel survey of recreational shore-based fishers in Western Australia in 2019 enabled a direct comparison between the two methods. Randomisation strategies were employed to ensure biases in using each technique were minimised. A total of 1,068 interviews with recreational fishers were undertaken with a total error rate of 5.1% (CI95%: 4.8–5.3%) for PDC and 3.1% (CI95%: 2.9–3.3%) for EDC. These results confirmed that EDC can reduce errors whilst increasing efficiency and decreasing cost, although some aspects of this platform could be improved with some streamlining. This study demonstrates how EDC can be successfully implemented in coastal and marine environments without compromising the randomised, stratified nature of a survey and highlights the cost-effectiveness of this method. Such findings can be widely applied to any discipline which uses face-to-face interviews for data collection.